From Amazon's Alexa to Facebook's Jarvis, if 2016 has taught us one thing, it's that the AI revolution is underway, and advancing at an astonishing rate. But for every voice-activated Christmas playlist or flick of the lights, AI may have deeper societal impacts – not least of all when it comes to jobs.
A new report commissioned by the White House has attempted to predict how much automation and artificial intelligence will affect the US job market, and it doesn't make for happy reading, particularly if you're in a low paid or low skilled job.
While the two studies cited in the report vary when it comes to the speed and severity with which AI will shake US jobs, analysis by Carl Frey and Michael Osbourne points to as many as 47 percent of US jobs being at risk in the next two decades thanks to automation.
I'm sorry Dave…
Among those most likely to be affected are truck and taxi drivers (thanks to the growing driverless car space), assembly line workers, and those in the hospitality industry, with restaurants in particular expected to see a rise in automated roles.
“If these estimates of threatened jobs translate into job displacement, millions of Americans will have their livelihoods significantly altered and potentially face considerable economic challenges in the short- and medium-term,” the report states.
The financial benefits of AI job swaps will only be seen be a small group of very elite people too, the report added.
“If labor productivity increases do not translate into wage increases, then the large economic gains brought about by AI could accrue to a select few,” the report says.
“Instead of broadly shared prosperity for workers and consumers, this might push towards reduced competition and increased wealth inequality.”
- It's not all doom and gloom though – a former Google VP believes AI will improve humanity