For years, Artificial Intelligence has threatened jobs around the world. Depending on who you ask, millions, even billions of jobs are at risk of being replaced. In 2020, the University of St. Thomas predicted losing tens of millions of jobs to AI.
Just last month, Techjury estimated losing 30% of jobs to automation. In a recent editorial, Brian Clark, founder of Further, reminds us that some are trying to change the narrative around AI, saying instead that it will augment work, rather than put people out of jobs.
Augmented AI is a con job
A lot of people are spending millions of dollars developing AI tools. Clark says that positioning AI as an augmented tool for human jobs is a con job, as it is being developed to do things cheaper and quicker than humans can. Clark writes:
“It’s no secret that many public corporations and private firms alike are motivated by short-term profit over the economic security of their employees. But it’s a different story when you’re the owner of the company.”
According to Clark, it’s important to listen to the change in the narrative because AI is shifting a change in job loss much sooner than anticipated. What was once maybe thirty to fifty years out is actually right around the corner.
It’s time to start adjusting now to the future of work
Saying AI is just going to augment jobs is a lie we’re being fed to ward off panic. It’s suspected that blue-collar jobs are more at risk of loss or change. Fast-food and warehouse workers may be disrupted before the better-educated workers are. Seeing how you can’t walk into a McDonald’s without seeing an ordering kiosk, it seems likely.
Just as the factory system of the industrial revolution changed society, AI is changing work and society. Computers can process data faster than humans ever will, but there are traits humans possess that computers haven’t quite mastered yet.
Who knows how long the pandemic would have kept killing people without the assistance of computers to create the weapons that are fighting COVID-19? Economically, business owners can’t ignore the practicality of using AI to get more done using less money, but it may come at a human cost.
We should be thinking about the price we pay for creating AI to replace jobs.