Quick Bite | Ranking industries with highest to lowest potential for AI

The age of “generative” artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived. OpenAI’s chatbots, which use large language model technology, have captured attention, and are advancing at breath-taking speed. Without doubt there’s more to come.

The development of AI raises profound questions. First, What does it mean for the economy? Research by Goldman Sachs suggests that “widespread AI adoption could eventually drive a 7% or almost $7 trillion increase in annual global GDP over a ten-year period.” Academic studies point to a 3% rise in annual labour-productivity growth in firms that adopt the technology, which would represent a huge uplift in incomes.

Who will be the winners from all this? As the Economist magazine points out, a new technology sometimes creates a small group of people with vast economic power. “John D. Rockefeller won out with oil refining and Henry Ford with cars. Today Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are pretty dominant, thanks to tech.”

And the losers? Whose jobs are going to disappear? Lots of predictions abound. Tyna Eloundou of OpenAI has estimated that “around 80% of the US workforce could have at least 10% of their work tasks affected by the introduction of large language model technology”. Edward Felten of Princeton University conducted a similar exercise and found that legal services, accountancy and travel agencies came out at or near the top of professions most likely to face disruption. And yet a recent study by America’s Bureau of Labour Statistics found that in recent years jobs classified as “at risk” from new technologies “did not exhibit any general tendency toward notably rapid job loss”.

The truth is we just don’t know. Many of the jobs at risk from AI are in heavily regulated sectors. Many of the top occupations most exposed to AI are teachers, but few governments would want to replace teachers with AI. Perhaps, in time, governments will allow some jobs to be replaced. But the delay will make space for the economy to do what it always does: create new types of jobs as others are eliminated.

Source: Goldman Sachs, Visual Capitalist 



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