Tech skills vital, Labour Day event hears
Bermudians must stay ahead of the curve in the face of new technologies such as artificial intelligence if they are to thrive in the workforce of the future, a top lawyer said tonight.
Delroy Duncan said: “Bermuda stands at an extraordinary moment of tension and possibilities.
“Artificial intelligence can meet the current tensions we face with job losses if we grasp the possibilities.
“The spirit of the age that we live in at present speaks to the urgency of addressing the future employment of Bermudians.
“In this brave new technological world, Bermudians must be prepared to pull away from safe moorings and grasp the new world working conditions that we all face.”
Mr Duncan was speaking as he delivered the keynote address at the 37th annual Labour Day banquet, held at the Fairmont Southampton.
The director of law firm Trott & Duncan highlighted an experiment using artificial intelligence.
He said an AI system tested against qualified lawyers challenged them to predict the outcome of personal injury cases submitted to the legal ombudsmen in Britain.
The computer beat the lawyers.
The system was correct 86 per cent of the time while lawyers were right only 62.3 per cent of the time.
Mr Duncan questioned whether there would be a need for lawyers and judges in the future,
He said it was important that Bermudians embraced technology and that employers encourage employees to learn the relevant skills.
He added: “I urge the government, the private sector, unions, the Bermuda schools system, individuals and the nation to embrace this technology as a way of life because that is what it will become for everyone.
“Employers, encourage and support employees who want to advance their knowledge and learning.”
Mr Duncan touched on block chain technology congratulating the Progressive Labour Party government for putting Bermuda on the global stage for innovation.
“They see the way things are going and they are trying to equip us for what is coming. It is going to be the way that we pay our bills in the future and the way that we interact with local businesses,” he said.
David Burt, the Premier, was unable to attend the banquet but did give a speech on video outlining his government's intent on “creating an atmosphere of fairness and equality at every job and every job site”.
When introducing Mr Duncan to the stage, former Bermudian Industrial Union president Derrick Burgess said the lawyer was “predestined” to represent the BIU. He mentioned the 1992 Sequestration case in which the BIU, represented by Mr Duncan, successfully defeated attempts by the Attorney-General to strip the union of its assets.
Mr Duncan's recent legal cases include representing members of the public who were pepper-sprayed during protests in 2016. While he made no direct reference to the events, he did mention a string of legal cases he had fought on behalf of the BIU.
Speaking of an initial loss in a 2002 case against an employer attempting to force dockworkers to do overtime, he said: “Defeat can be a platform for victory.
“We lost in the Supreme Court, we lost in the Court of Appeal, we had 24 hours to file our application in the Privy Council and we ended up winning in the Privy Council. That is a significant victory. These battles establish a strong tradition to be proud of.”