Some claim that AI will create more jobs than it will destroy. Their claim boils down to three basic arguments.
Argument 1: Historically tech revolutions have always created more jobs than they destroyed; thus, AI revolution will be the same. Some economists make this point. However, unlike industrial revolution which transforms few craftsman jobs into many assembly line jobs, AI revolution completely replaces assembly line and other routine jobs. Also AI revolution will be much faster than other revolutions, because the technology is ready with exponentially growing fuel (data and compute power)
Argument 2: AI and humans think differently so they complement each other. AI can be a tool used by people, resulting in AI-human symbiosis. This is true for some professions (such as investigative journalists, researchers, and investors), but these cover a small minority of the workforce. When measured by the numbers of jobs affected, the majority will be AI replacement of routine jobs and tasks. This is a frequent argument made by AI giants, read Dr. Lee’s article on why AI giants aren’t forthcoming on a question they know the answer to.
Argument 3: We are inventing new jobs every day – many jobs today (such as data scientists and robot repair) did not exist 10 years ago, so we should trust human ingenuity to come up with new jobs, and everything will be OK. Dr. Lee believes in human ingenuity, and believes that given enough time, humans will invent enough jobs (and even redefine work) to solve the job displacement problem. But AI revolution is coming too fast– if 40-50% of the routine jobs are replaced in the next 15-20 years (on top of other churn from other factors), that is too much and too fast for new jobs to be invented. AI is perhaps 10 times faster than electricity. Also, the jobs AI will replace are the routine jobs, which makes retraining and placement more difficult (than say retaining a Android engineer to become an AI engineer).
So yes, AI will create a great deal of economic value, and amplify a significant number of professions and professionals. But we must recognize that AI will displace routine jobs, which cover a large percentage of the workforce. AI Superpowers describes which jobs will be amplified by AI, which jobs will be symbiotically partnered with AI, and which jobs will be replaced by AI. Learn more about AI & Your Job.
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