Skip to Main Content

AI and the World of Work

The impact of AI on the world of work is being studied closely. We are preparing students for future employment that doesn’t yet exist and preparing them to thrive at a time of rapid change to current jobs. We are also training the next generation of academics.

A March 2023 pre-publication paper from the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with OpenAI, investigated the impact of Large Language models on the US Labor market. The study revealed that around 80% of people could see 10% of their tasks affected by LLMs, while 19% could see 50% of their tasks impacted. Those with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees were more exposed to their jobs being impacted.

There are some that point out that, historically, jobs lost to technological advances have been offset by jobs new technology has created. In fact, a Goldman Sachs blog post states that based on a recent report that 60% of today’s workers have occupations that didn’t exist 80 years ago – their economists say that 85% of employment growth over that time could be said to be explained by the technology-driven creation of new positions.

What jobs are going to be harder for AI to replace? In Chapter 3 of his 2017 book Life 3.0, AI expert Max Tegmark suggests we start with what AIs are good at now. AIs are good in predictable environments, with highly structured tasks and repetitive work. It is good at computing, pattern recognition and estimating probabilities. It may have "creative" abilities such as image, audio or text generation based on prompts - but there needs to be a person driving the output, with an understanding of what they want to communicate to whom for what reason for the output to be useful. So, If a job requires interacting with people and using social intelligence, coming up with creative solutions and an unpredictable environment - it is less likely that the job will be completely erased by AI or automation in the near future. If your career is in teaching, you may be happy to read that Bill Gates thinks that software will never replace teaching. He sees AI as finally delivering on the promise of technology to meaningfully impact education and healthcare.

And, with rapid advancements in technology, workers are likely going to need ongoing education and training. Always wanted a personal assistant? At this writing - April 2023 - Microsoft is testing its integration of Copilot AI into its suite of products that will provide users with the equivalent of an assistant that can search video meeting archives for key information, draw from information from multiple documents to craft an appropriate response to an email and create presentations from documents. AI will help knowledge workers vastly increase their productivity - provided they know how to use it effectively.