Artificial intelligence (AI) could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs, according to a report by investment bank Goldman Sachs .
According to the report, the emergence of generative AI is a significant development, as it has the potential to replace up to a quarter of work tasks in the United States and Europe.
However, this technological innovation could also lead to the creation of new employment opportunities and a surge in productivity. Moreover, the report predicts that generative AI could eventually enhance the overall annual value of goods and services produced worldwide by 7%.
The Effect On Employment
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, even discussing regulations.
“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,” Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan told the Sun.
The report notes AI’s impact will vary across different sectors – 46% of tasks in administrative and 44% in legal professions could be automated but only 6% in construction 4% in maintenance.
Lower Wages And Higher Competition
“The only thing I am sure of is that there is no way of knowing how many jobs will be replaced by generative AI,” Carl Benedikt Frey, future of-work director at the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University, told BBC News.
“What ChatGPT does, for example, is allow more people with average writing skills to produce essays and articles.
“Journalists will therefore face more competition, which would drive down wages, unless we see a very significant increase in the demand for such work.
“Consider the introduction of GPS technology and platforms like Uber. Suddenly, knowing all the streets in London had much less value – and so incumbent drivers experienced large wage cuts in response, of around 10% according to our research.
“The result was lower wages, not fewer drivers.
“Over the next few years, generative AI is likely to have similar effects on a broader set of creative tasks”.
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According to research in the report, 60% of workers are in occupations that did not exist in 1940.
But other research suggests technological change since the 1980s has displaced workers faster than it has created jobs.
And if generative AI is like previous information-technology advances, the report concludes, it could reduce employment in the near term.
The long-term impact of AI, however, was highly uncertain, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank Torsten Bell told BBC News, “so all firm predictions should be taken with a very large pinch of salt”.
“We do not know how the technology will evolve or how firms will integrate it into how they work,” he said.
“That’s not to say that 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.”
Source: BBC News