Skilling the Gap: 21 Conversations on Designing Education for Those Left Behind as Robotics and AI Advance

Laura Gemmell, Sabine Hauert*, Lucy J Wenham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Robotics and artificial intelligence (RAI) is advancing rapidly. These advances risk exacerbating inequalities unless the benefits are shared across society. Education in RAI is often aimed at business leaders and students. While education designed for these groups is needed, it is not accessible by everyone, and there is potential for people to be left behind. To understand the barriers in designing an educational scheme for those often missed by other initiatives, a pilot study was conducted. Twenty‐one semi‐structured interviews were held with Thought‐Leaders, Industry, Adult Educators, and Members of the Public. A thematic analysis was used to allow themes not previously thought of to arise. Looking at the findings through the lens of leaving no one behind presents three themes, which need to be addressed for education to be successful. First, as well as education for those designing RAI and education for everyday life, there needs to be education for those working with RAI. Second, work is needed to overcome preconceptions. The views of learners on RAI, potential “gatekeeping” of experts, and attitudes to training from industry can create barriers to education. Finally, education should be co‐designed with communities to ensure it is relevant to the learners' needs and lives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2000169
Number of pages20
JournalAdvanced Intelligent Systems
Early online date18 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2021


  • artificial intelligence
  • education
  • inequality
  • robotics
  • skills


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