Is job loss due to AI exaggerated?

Three reports were released earlier this year, each focused on the potential of AI to take over jobs done by humans.

“Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how American workers may be exposed to artificial intelligence (AI) at their jobs. The study emphasizes the impact of AI on different groups of workers, such as men and women and racial and ethnic groups …”

These researchers considered whether particular jobs are more or less “exposed” to AI. “In our analysis, jobs are considered more exposed to artificial intelligence if AI can either perform their most important activities entirely or help with them.” The study found that white-collar jobs dealing in information gathering or data analysis are “more exposed,” while jobs requiring manual labor and hands-on caregiving as “less exposed.”

As far as job losses, or jobs disappearing, the researchers concluded they just don’t know. Rather than being replaced (say, customer-service workers being replaced by AI chatbots), workers might use AI to make themselves more productive.

Goldman Sachs’s report focused on productivity and generative AI. They estimated that “roughly two-thirds of U.S. occupations are exposed to some degree of automation by AI.”

The McKinsey Global Institute released a 76-page PDF that said, in part, “we see generative AI enhancing the way STEM, creative, and business and legal professionals work rather than eliminating a significant number of jobs outright.” Looking at the near term (up to 2030), the analysts predicted changes in worker training and continued mobility of workers (“occupational shifts”), following pandemic-era job attrition in food service, customer service and sales, office support, and production work such as manufacturing.”

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