According to a recent report by New York-based investment bank, Goldman Sachs, artificial intelligence (AI) could threaten 300 million jobs in the U.S. and Europe by either diminishing them or replacing them completely.
The investment bank predicts that 18 percent of all work can be computerized and that “the labor market could face significant disruption” with the proliferation of artificial intelligence platforms like OpenAI’s GPT4 and Google’s Bard.
Administrative workers and lawyers are most at risk of having their occupations automated, the report claims while people working in manual labor or who complete outdoor tasks will experience “little effect” from the spread of artificially intelligent platforms.
The report claims that approximately two-thirds of current jobs in Europe and the United States “are exposed to some degree of AI automation” and that the tech could possibly replace a quarter of current work.
In the short-term, it’s likely that AI will replace a number of administrative positions, including customer service roles, however the report also notes that the tech could lessen the workload of U.S. workers by 25 to 50 percent, allowing people to be more productive in other areas.
“Office administrative support, legal, architecture and engineering, business and financial operations, management, sales, healthcare and art and design are some of the sectors that will be impacted by automation,” Forbes reported.
Also threatened are roles that take humans many years to master including doctors and surgeons who are at risk of being pushed aside by sophisticated robots that can perform complex surgeries more precisely, read and interpret x-rays and even detect cancer cells that the human eye can’t see.
A 2018 study, published by the McKinsey Research Institute, predicted that globally around 400 million people could be displaced by AI by 2030 and that the tech could be valued, annually, between $3.5 and $5.8 trillion, with Goldman Sachs predicting the tech will boost global GDP by around seven percent.
A “productivity boom” due to the proliferation of AI is anticipated, that could drive “economic growth substantially” as labor costs plummet, productivity increases and new jobs are created, however when this theoretical boom is to occur remains “hard to predict.”
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Investment in AI soars
According to Stanford’s AI Index Report from 2021 to present nearly $94 billion has been invested in AI globally. Should this trend continue — which it appears to be the case — this investment could add one percent to the U.S.’s GDP by the end of the decade.
According to Statista, global investment in AI in 2015 was just $12.75 billion, surging to $44.08 billion in 2017 which more than doubled by 2021 to $93.5 billion invested.
There is a significant downside though.
A report, by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), claims that between 50 and 70 percent of changes in U.S. wages since the 1980s can be attributed to wage declines among blue collar workers who were either replaced by automation or AI severely degraded their duties.
“We document that between 50% and 70% of changes in the US wage structure over the last four decades are accounted for by the relative wage declines of worker groups specialized in routine tasks in industries experiencing rapid automation,” the report says.
The rise of AI, robotics and other sophisticated technologies are being blamed for causing a vast chasm in wealth and income inequality, impacting blue collar workers the worst, however with new advancement many white-collar jobs are on the chopping block as well.
So far, college-educated workers have been largely spared, however the NBER report says that while people with a postgraduate degree saw their salaries rise, wages for “low-education workers declined significantly,” and that “The real earnings of men without a high-school degree are now 15% lower than they were in 1980.”
Driving these wage cuts were companies automating tasks once done by people, a fate that may impact truck and cab drivers, cashiers, retail sales associates, and people who work in manufacturing plants and factories in the near future.
“Driverless vehicles, kiosks in fast-food restaurants and self-help, quick-phone scans at stores will soon eliminate most minimum-wage and low-skilled jobs,” Forbes claims.