AI Won’t Trigger a Labor Decline – Yet

A new report says “no straight line” exists between artificial intelligence and job losses.

Over the past few years, artificial intelligence developers have been playing defense on the issue of AI’s impact on the labor market.

That’s with good reason. Headlines trumpeting the decline of the human workforce are all too common, and numerous studies and surveys indicate major job losses due to AI in the next half-decade.

For example, artificial intelligence could “disrupt large swaths of jobs,” a recent White House report states. Another report from SEO.AI points to 800 million jobs being “potentially replaced” by artificial intelligence by 2030.

It’s no wonder 70% of U.S. career professionals say they’re either very or somewhat worried about AI’s rise in the workforce, with 30% expecting their jobs to be eliminated, according to a recent study by Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, which has been tracking workplace trends over the past three decades.

“Hold On,” Says Google In a New Report

Now, a new Google study titled “The Economic Impact of Generative AI” says fears of major labor displacement due to AI are largely overblown.

There’s “no straight line” between artificial intelligence and job layoffs, study author Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management, concludes in the report.

McAfee also noted there is currently “no direct correlation” . . . “at least in the short run” because of AI technology “limits,” the study noted.

The study indicates that AI should have a major impact on the labor force, although not in the negative way job-killing has been cited by labor advocacy groups and the media in the last two years.

“Generative AI is one of the rare technologies powerful enough to accelerate overall economic growth—what economists call a “general-purpose technology.” These innovations have the potential to transform economies and societies positively,” the Google report stated. “By one estimate, close to 80% of the jobs in the U.S. economy could see at least 10% of their tasks done twice as quickly (with no loss in quality) via generative AI.”

McAfee pointed to previous general-purpose technologies like the steam engine and electrification, which have brought about changes over the decades. However, we anticipate that generative AI’s effects will be felt more quickly due to its ease of diffusion,” he notes in the report.

No “Collapse” Scenarios

While generative AI should produce some disruption in the workforce and will “reduce demand for some skills, increase demand for others, and create demand for entirely new ones,” the Google study doesn’t expect any full-scale AI-fueled job replacement scenarios.

“Fears of large-scale technological unemployment are probably overblown,” McAfee said. “The history of general-purpose technologies shows that the growth they bring is accompanied by strong demand for labor.”

“Previous general-purpose technologies have resulted in changes to the companies and countries leading the way in different industries,” he added. “We believe that generative AI will be similarly powerful.”

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *