Futurum Chairman: AI’s Threat to Jobs Overstated

Even truck drivers shouldn’t worry about job displacement due to artificial intelligence.

There’s an expanding school of thought among workers that artificial intelligence is a job slayer.

For example, a recent Goldman Sachs report stated AI has the potential to replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs by 2023. Additionally, it could replace 25% of all workplace tasks in the US and Europe over the same period.

Some technology industry insiders, including Niccolo de Masi, chairman of the global technology advisory firm Futurum Group, believe that sentiment is overstated.

Speaking at the recent Fortune CFO Collaborative dinner in Houston, Tex., de Masi said generative AI will actually widen career opportunities. That’s especially the case in the corporate finance sector.

“The predictions I will give this room: It’s going to be a net job creator for the function, it’s going to increase the power of this function,” he said, as reported by Fortune. “It’s going to increase the importance and criticality of everyone in the profession being kind of the systems integrator of all things, from data to supply chain to compliance.”

Job Market Bigger and Better?

Instead of job displacement, di Masi says companies and workers should focus on opportunities with AI.

“I’ve been on the correct side of history for the past decade,” de Masi added. He told the audience that he was with several Stanford University professors about a decade ago who were “really demoralized about how a million truckers could be out of work within two or three years.”

“I doubt it,” de Masi told the group. “AI will grow the economy, which means you’ll have more customers and more services. And today, truckers get paid more and have better benefits than ever.”

Harkening back to technology “evolution triggers” from decades past, de Masi said Gen AI would likely mirror the early days of Excel when digitized spreadsheets changed the finance industry.

“(Gen AI) is a vast productivity improver, but not a panacea,” de Masi noted. “By the end of this year, people will include this in part of their vending conversations.”

CFOs can help tamp down overwrought job threat sentiment from employees, but that could take some effort, de Masi said.

“(CFOs) should be at the center of data information integrity,” he noted. That includes everything across the company . . . . The integrity of what you construct will become the mark, I think, of the best CFOs.”

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