AI And Employment
By now it's obvious that AI is not going anywhere, as mentioned in one of my previous articles, in the EU alone spending in artificial intelligence systems will reach £3.95 billion ($5.2 billion). As more applications are found and industries are created and changed by the ever-evolving AI systems, it is clear AI isn't going anywhere, however it may be the case that we can't say the same for a lot of jobs.
Looking into the potential costs and benefits of AI in the workforce the “Royal Society” and “British Academy” released an evidence evidence synthesis which came with the, at first, seemingly worrying news that between 10 percent and 40 percent of jobs could potentially be automated, fully or partly, in the coming decades. These figures were obtained through studies that relied mostly on a few expert opinions resulting in the 30% error margin.
If the majority of the jobs lost are jobs focusing on repetitive tasks with little variation (a key characteristic of low-income jobs) ,as demonstrated above, then we could see an increase in inequality.
The situation is very similar to that of the industrial revolution, with workers fearing their jobs would be given to machinery. However, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that although some jobs were lost there was an overall benefit due to increased productivity and the whole new machine building industry. This same perspective could be taking with the rise of AI as more and more people begin to develop AI systems and firms lower their costs of production using the systems allowing them to hire more workers. However for AI to have a net positive effect of employment there must be more new demand for labour in new industries than the decrease in demand in others.
In conclusion, we can not say with certainty what the future of AI in the workplace will be however it will certainly bring massive change to a lot of industries. To develop our predictions we must observe what decisions firms are taking today and in the near future to see the general trend AI is taking us in.