AI Could Automate a Quarter of Work Tasks in the US and Europe
The report suggests that AI could automate a quarter of work tasks in the US and Europe. However, it also predicts that AI could lead to a productivity boom and eventually increase the total annual value of goods and services produced globally by 7%.
Generative AI is a "Major Advancement"
Generative AI, which is capable of creating content that is indistinguishable from human work, is cited as a "major advancement" in the report.
UK Government Seeks to Promote Investment in AI
The UK government is keen to promote investment in AI, believing that it will drive productivity across the economy. Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan has tried to reassure the public that AI will not disrupt jobs, but rather complement them.
Impact of AI on Employment Prospects
The report notes that the impact of AI on employment prospects will vary across different sectors. It predicts that 46% of tasks in administrative and 44% in legal professions could be automated, but only 6% in construction and 4% in maintenance.
Generative AI Could Drive Down Wages
However, some experts warn that generative AI could drive down wages. Future of-work director at the Oxford Martin School, Carl Benedikt Frey, predicts that journalists will face more competition, which would drive down wages, unless there is a significant increase in demand for their work.
Uncertainty of the Long-Term Impact of AI
While the report acknowledges that 60% of workers are in occupations that did not exist in 1940, other research suggests that technological change since the 1980s has displaced workers faster than it has created jobs. The report concludes that if generative AI is like previous information-technology advances, it could reduce employment in the near term. However, the long-term impact of AI is highly uncertain.
Caution in Predicting AI's Impact
According to Torsten Bell, the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, predictions about the impact of AI should be taken with a large pinch of salt, as we do not know how technology will evolve or how firms will integrate it into their operations. Bell urges a focus on the potential benefits of 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.
Technomancer is a science and tech enthusiast who enjoys writing about software and AI and other tech topics.