Sci-Fi coming soon...and it's because of Brexit!

By: Calum McKeown, Student Voices writer



Man vs machine. It’s a debate discussed over the last decade in an increasingly globalised world. Yet, according to a leading think-tank, Britain is on course for a period of "radical change", in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Brexit…yes that term again; has already led to market fluctuations with a weak UK pound, but now the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has warned the country’s political and economic future looks bleak with low growth and poor living standards throughout the 2020s.

So are we going into a new galaxy or back in time…that is the question? One of the most striking features of the report claimed that some 15 million jobs are at risk with "improvements in new technologies". In layman's terms: robots. But, as I sat watching my younger cousin on Boxing Day  wind up some mechanical robot toy it struck me that this has always been and will be, (perhaps sooner than anticipated though), the future.

The British government has over the last two months reiterated its commitment to making Brexit "a success" and looks to stay on track for Britain to become the fastest-growing major western economy. 2017, however, will mark the beginning of the unknown and perhaps as the report states could be "the firing gun on a decade of disruption". It goes on that the UK is likely to remain trapped in a low growth, low interest rate decade driven by weak investment, weak labour power, high levels of debt, and the headwinds of a slowing global economy. Three weeks past, the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, made similar claims.

Claims and forecasts from experts and politicians have fallen on deaf ears for the time being. Baroness Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, said the report's Brexit warning was a "devastating indictment of the Conservative Government. In the face of huge global challenges, the Conservative response is to haul up the drawbridge". Those who voted Leave relish the thought of "taking back control"; taking the country back to the golden ages of industry, manufacturing, full employment. This is a long way away from 2017. The report noted that while work for humans would not end, "jobs would become less secure and more freelance". 15 million people, even more, could soon find themselves with no job, five jobs or not having a job during their lifetime. For politicians, they may soon find themselves with no other alternative but to radically reform our political and social system as we accelerate towards infinity and beyond!

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