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LATEST NEWS

  • Philip Osadebay - Tech Journalist

AI likely to eliminate jobs and increase income inequality

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence often create jobs that no one could have predicted. Who would have guessed that programming would be a profession before the invention of computers?



ChatGPT is just the latest technology to cause people concern that it will destroy the jobs of millions of workers, whether copywriters, Wall Street traders, salespeople, programmers or editors. But while many workforce experts fears that ChatGPT and other AI technologies will lead to a spike in unemployment, they point to another fear about AI. It will expand America's already enormous income wealth by creating a new wave of tech billionaires.


Like many previously revolutionary technologies, AI is likely to eliminate jobs. But as in the past, experts say, artificial intelligence is likely to offset much of this, influencing the creation of new jobs in addition to improving many existing jobs.


Will AI increase productivity so much that, while it displaces many jobs, it creates new ones and raises the standard of living?


It is estimated that one in four American workers will see more artificial intelligence and technology in their work. About 60% of companies say they will pursue AI-related projects which means in one way or another, people have to learn to work with AI.


White-collar workers will be the hardest hit by artificial intelligence. AI is moving to office work, customer service and sales. These are the job categories where automation will be most adopted and transferred. Those workers will have to work with it or acquire different skills. In other words, many office workers may be forced out of work.


Questions about AI

Labor experts are asking many questions about artificial intelligence: Will it replace many call centre workers or will it make workers more productive by providing them the information they need quickly when talking to clients?


Is AI replacing radiologists by being able to read cancer scans, or is it helping radiologists by allowing them to focus on more complex and nuanced questions, how to interpret scans? Will AI replace some reporters, who write stories about baseball games or the daily ups and downs of Wall Street?


Artificial intelligence and other new technologies will hurt middle-level white-collar workers more than low-wage, physically intensive jobs. It will be difficult for artificial intelligence or robots to do janitorial work. In food service, new technologies can take customer orders, but we're not going to see a lot of little robots bringing food to a specific table.


In law firms, artificial intelligence may cause some lawyers to lose their jobs because it can prepare the first drafts of business contracts. But AI could also allow assistants to oversee the preparation of contract projects and increased responsibility could mean better pay for assistants.


If you make workers more productive, workers should make more money. Most Companies do not want to share the benefits of these technologies. They prefer to talk to scare you about their new technologies. They want you to admit that you are just grateful for your work.


Concerns of AI

The concern is that AI will devalue many skills and make work more commercial. New technologies like AI often create jobs that were not easy to predict. AI will create more jobs for engineers and certain types of managers.


Julie Shah, an MIT professor who leads the Interactive Robotics Group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said she is working with employers to use AI and robots to augment and enhance workers, not replace them. She said some employers want to use robots in light manufacturing where there are no workers, while other companies want robots to work with humans to make them more efficient and for humans to provide ideas for future innovations. These technologies will not lead to just one future, but too many possible futures.


There are also concerns about the effects of artificial intelligence on income inequality. The labor share of income is likely to continue to decline as many tasks are automated.


The big problem is who will share the gains if AI significantly increases productivity, and how those gains will be shared.


However, as things stand, these benefits do not reach American workers. A stronger percentage of employees and their representatives in this process is an important part of adapting to change which happens in countries where trade unions and works councils are stronger.

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