Thought Leadership Interview: Preparing the Workforce of the Future and the Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Professor Nick Hull of Coventry University discusses the future of AI, preparing the workforce of the future and the upcoming trends we should expect to see in the automotive industry.

In a climate where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly improving its ability to generate written content, how can Universities and workplaces ensure they are on top of their wards to protect themselves from accepting plagiarized work? With the automotive industry making huge strides in technological advancements and innovations, it’s an exciting time to be entering the sector. But how will these innovations keep up with and reign in the world of AI? 


We spoke with Professor Nick Hull to get his take on all things AI, the future workforce and what future trends in the automotive sector we can anticipate. 


We asked Nick to tell us how he felt about the innovations happening within the automotive sector: 

‘I think it’s very exciting at the moment what is happening in terms of new software and AI and so on. For young designers, it’s a really exciting time to be entering the industry.’ 

When asked to expand on what the new practices and processes we’re expecting to come up in the industry will mean for the workforce of the future, Nick told us: 

‘It does mean that we need to rethink some of the processes that we have been teaching, particularly with the introduction of AI. On the one hand, it’s a great move forward, but I think we have to think carefully about how we introduce that to new young designers and students, about when is it appropriate to use it, when is it really good to use it, but also when is it not appropriate to use it and so on. We’re already starting to see portfolios being submitted, which are largely generated by AI and are therefore plagiarized. And I think the industry is going to start to see that in a big wave coming through. They are going to see that in portfolios and we don’t have the tools at the moment to really deal with that.’ 

Whilst the use of AI in relation to young designers and students submitting potentially plagiarized work raises significant concerns, Nick agreed that the technology does have its upsides.  

When thinking about the innovations coming up throughout the industry and how the education sector will be able to support these, Nick told us: 

‘The industry has always been open to new technologies and introducing those to students as quickly as possible. But particularly with AI, there’s a number of debates which haven’t yet taken place. And not just in this country, but globally. [Thinking] about how do we treat [AI] because students have a huge advantage in terms of grades or marks if they’re submitting work which is not their own. And how do [we] deal with that? Some American universities and art schools are deliberately talking about making their business model completely AI. And that will be what sets them apart in terms of quality and creativity. There’s a number of debates which are taking place. But I think the education sector is a little bit slow in realizing the scope for AI at the moment.’ 

Moving on from AI, we wanted to find out what other trends Nick thinks the automotive industry is likely to face in the next couple of years. Nick told us: 

‘More expensive vehicles – vehicles generally are becoming much more expensive. Hybrids and electric vehicles are much more expensive now. And therefore, if they’re more expensive, should there be more premium or luxury content [added to them] to justify the cost? In terms of other trends, more levels of autonomy are coming in, not in the next couple of years, but longer than that. How will that be introduced? There might be platoons of truck teams in the commercial vehicle field that may be easier to introduce than with private vehicles. And I also think that the new generation EVTOLs and flying taxis [will be an upcoming trend] – in some ways they have a big advantage to become autonomous over helicopters. And I think that’s something where we might see; autonomy in the air sooner than on land.’ 

It’s clear that when thinking about the upcoming trends facing the automotive industry as well as the potential implications of AI to be had on the workforce of the future, we are looking at a disruptive, exciting and innovative area to be involved in.  


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