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Wales 'must focus' on key technological advancements to thrive warns futurologist

Wales is trailblazing new advances in technology like robotics. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Wales 'must focus on key areas' in relation to technological advancements if it’s to thrive, according to a futurologist.

Jessica Leigh Jones says Wales should be capitalising on its many technological successes.

We’re a very very diverse nation. We’ve got lots of fantastic technology start ups but perhaps to become successful in moving Wales forward we need to focus on a few key areas.

Healthcare is one that we are becoming quite prominent in. The use of wearable technologies for monitoring vulnerable patients for example. We really need to home in on some of those key advancements.

– Jessica Leigh Jones , Futurologist
A Cardiff company has developed a new ultrasound scanner using artificial intelligence. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Wales is already trailblazing new advances in healthcare.

One company in Cardiff has designed a new ultrasound scanning system which uses artificial intelligence to assess the same features sonographers look for during a pregnant woman’s 20 week scan.

The smart scan has been programmed with 350,000 images so it recognises what is normal and what is irregular during the check up.

The technology is now being trialled at a hospital in London and its hoped GP’s could scan pregnant women at a local surgery instead of by a sonographer at a hospital.

It’s also predicted to speed up the process.

In the future some scans that are taken in hospitals might be able to be done by a GP because the GP will feel more confident and will have the support to be able to do that scanning themselves.

– Nick Sleep, MedaPhor
There are warnings advances in robotics could lead to thousands of job losses in Wales. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

While there are many advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence being made in Wales, there are concerns that fast-growing technologies could replace jobs.

It comes after recent reports from the Centre for Cities think tank suggested as many as 112,000 jobs could be lost to robots here by 2030.

Assembly Member Lee Waters says jobs with a repetitive element in them are most at risk.

He warns that it’s not only manual workers who are at risk.

Any job that has a repetitive element to it is vulnerable to artificial intelligence. This isn’t just a robot like a Metal Mickey version from 80’s tv. This is computer programmes. This is algorithms. This is data in its broadest sense. It’s not just manual workers who have to worry it’s now white collar jobs. It’s lawyers, it’s accountants. It’s clerical workers and these are the sort of jobs that Wales has a lot of. So I think we are particularly vulnerable to these changes.

– Lee Waters AM

You can see more on this story in Wales This Week: My Robot Helper. Tonight at 8pm on ITV Cymru Wales.