AI could replace equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs: Report
As technology continues to rapidly advance, concerns about the impact of automation on the job market have only grown. Even before the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), professionals worldwide were worried about the potential loss of livelihoods.
Now, a recent report by investment bank Goldman Sachs has only served to heighten those fears, as it warns that AI is expected to replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs.
According to findings, heavy dependence on Artificial Intelligence could replace a quarter of work tasks in the US and Europe though it may also mean new jobs and a productivity boom. On the positive side for firms, it could eventually increase the total annual value of goods and services produced globally by 7%, the report says.
The investment bank puts its money on “generative” AI systems such as ChatGPT, which can create content that is indistinguishable from human output, and it could spark a productivity boom that would eventually raise the annual global gross domestic product by 7 per cent over a 10-year period.
Pressure on labour market
If the technology lived up to its promise, it would also bring “significant disruption” to the labour market, exposing the equivalent of 300mn full-time workers across big economies to automation, according to Joseph Briggs and Devesh Kodnani, the paper’s authors. Lawyers and administrative staff would be among those at greatest risk of becoming redundant, Financial Times reports.
They calculate that roughly two-thirds of jobs in the US and Europe are exposed to some degree of AI automation, based on data on the tasks typically performed in thousands of occupations.
Most people would see less than half of their workload automated and would probably continue in their jobs, with some of their time freed up for more productive activities.
In the US, this should apply to 63 per cent of the workforce, they calculated. A further 30 per cent working in physical or outdoor jobs would be unaffected, although their work might be susceptible to other forms of automation.
Goldman Sachs stresses that Generative AI's ability to create content such as images, videos, audio, text, and 3D models gives a definite edge to these tools.
The report further cites research that says that today around 60 per cent of the workers are engaged in work that didn't even exist in 1940. Quoting another piece of research, the investment bank points to the fact that technological advancements since 1980 have displaced "workers faster than it has created jobs." This, the report concludes, could mean that as AI advances further, it could reduce jobs in the short term.
As per the report, administrative and legal sectors will see the maximum impact with 46 per cent of administrative jobs and 44 per cent of legal jobs risking replacement by AI.
The FT report further mentions that a paper published last week by OpenAI, the creator of GPT-4, found that 80 per cent of the US workforce could see at least 10 per cent of their tasks performed by generative AI, based on analysis by human researchers and the company’s machine large language model (LLM).
Law enforcement agency, Europol, also warned about heightened activities by online fraudsters and cyber criminals due to rapid advances in generative AI could.
According to reports, the government is keen to promote investment in AI in the UK, which it says will "ultimately drive productivity across the economy", and has tried to reassure the public about its impact.
Media reports quoted UK's Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, who said, "We want to make sure that AI is complementing the way we work in the UK, not disrupting it - making our jobs better, rather than taking them away."
In some cases, professionals whose jobs won't get affected, they will be hit by lower wages, the report says. The long-term impact of AI, however, was highly uncertain,
In an interaction with media, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank Torsten Bell, said, "AI won't disrupt the way we work - but we should focus too on the potential living-standards gains from higher-productivity work and cheaper-to-run services, as well as the risk of falling behind if other firms and economies better adapt to technological change."
According to Goldman Sachs, AI would be capable of tasks such as completing tax returns for a small business; evaluating a complex insurance claim; or documenting the results of a crime scene investigation. This may deal a death knell for similar jobs.