Social representation of the profession of psychology and the application of artificial intelligence: European Union regulatory authority and the application of psychology as a paradigm for the future


  • Callum J. Innes The Investment Association, United Kingdom
  • J. Michael Innes EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of South Australia, Australia
  • Ben W Morrison Department of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia



European Union, artificial intelligence, professions, social representations, regulation


The digitisation of work affects thinking with respect to who will work, what work will entail and how governments will control change. The development of artificial intelligence (AI) is recognized as a threat and as a facilitator of change. The European Union leads in the development of regulatory power in the area. We examine these regulations and how they may affect the application of AI to work, especially with respect to psychology. Psychology is a profession universally conceived in the recent past to be immune from the predations of automation due to the level of cognitive and emotional skills believed to underly competence. The image or social representation of the discipline/profession plays a role in how the discipline is perceived and understood and how it is placed within the predicted matrix of jobs under threat. We demonstrate that psychology may not be immune in the context of a contemporary social representation. Regulatory practices in training and employment put psychology under threat as a “safe” profession. Europe has regulated and commodified the practice and training of psychology and hence has magnified the threat of replacement of those practices by AI. Governments and the professions need to be mindful of these consequences.