The news that O2 is introducing artificial intelligence to its customer helpline is just another example of the move from people-based service to automatic, machine-based service in the labour market.

Robotics are replacing manual workers in factories, making large, immovable factories obsolete and will soon replace shift workers in customer service centres.

The effect on social mobility should not be underestimated. As each industrial revolution over the last 250 years has shown, the labour market must adapt and adapt fast.

The next few years will not be about onshoring or offshoring - instead it will be about the irrelevance of where someone is based or lives. It will be about breaking down the concept of office based jobs and instead focus on virtual working. Even the notion of offices as places where people meet is changing as products like skype improve.  

There will be a greater need for training and qualifications as early as possible in a person's life and there will be less need for blue collar workers.

Whilst government's focus on geopolitical issues and how to collect fiscal revenues in a virtual world, the growing issue around the consequences of robots replacing humans in the workplace and its consequences on the social environment must be addressed if the fabric of western society is to survive.