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Norwich must plan now for impact of artificial intelligence on jobs, warns council leader

PUBLISHED: 16:43 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:27 07 June 2019

Artificial intelligence is predicted to have a major impact on jobs over the next decade. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Artificial intelligence is predicted to have a major impact on jobs over the next decade. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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The rise of artificial intelligence over the next decade means Norwich schools and businesses need to act now to prepare for the jobs of the future, council bosses have warned.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

A five-year economic strategy for the city is due to be agreed next week, with Norwich City Council leaders saying the vision is needed to "reposition the city and remain competitive".

They say many of the challenges holding back Norwich from fulfilling its full potential have "become engrained and have not changed over the last decade".

Those challenges include the need to improve educational attainment in Norwich's state-funded high schools, with the city having one the weakest GCSE performances in the country.

And city council leader Alan Waters said that needs to change, especially as technology advances.

He said: "The pace of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence over the next decade means it is vital that we restructure what is taught in our schools and improve workforce skills - preparing for the jobs of the future, not the jobs that are going to disappear.

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"That also requires the right infrastructure for the city - transport networks, high quality and affordable housing and workspace for new and existing businesses to grow and expand."

The strategy outlines how Norwich has the potential to develop the low carbon sector and environmental industries, with the University of East Anglia and Norwich Research Park on the city's doorstep.

The likes of Amazon are having an impact on city and town centres, but the strategy remains optimistic over the future of Norwich's city centre.

It states: "Norwich, with its historic, cultural and visitor offer should be able to prosper in this changed environment, though this will require further investment and active management to find the balance between employment, housing, retail and leisure."

And the report states shrinking car ownership, as people become more environmentally-conscious, could boost the city centre.

It states; "This may also reduce the attractiveness of out-of-town shopping destinations, returning the emphasis to city centres and supporting Norwich's low carbon emissions.

The council will work with the private, public and third sectors to turn the economic strategy from a high-level document into reality.

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