Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to play a role in the job market as tech companies begin phasing out thousands of low-level positions.
- The “AI arms race” has been in full swing since the launch of ChapGPT on November 30—having sparked six months of rapid innovation and high demand for AI solutions.
- IBM CEO Arvind Krishna mentioned in a May 1 interview that his company will begin phasing out back-office and human-resource jobs in the next few years and pause new hiring on positions that AI could fill, Bloomberg reports.
- Non-customer-facing roles at IBM represent 26,000 jobs, and Krishna believes 30%—7,800 of them—will be replaced by automation or AI solutions.
- Multiple major industries—including healthcare, customer service, finance, agriculture, retail, education, human resources, entertainment, and legal services—have already begun implementing AI solutions, Forbes reports.
Why It’s Important
Not all jobs are likely to be affected by AI or phased out, but many could. As we previously reported, many low-level jobs that require repetitive and predictable work or jobs specifically related to language are in danger. This list of jobs includes customer service, translation, interpretation, technical writing, copywriting, data entry, machine learning, mathematics, computer science, robots, and business.
Some more extreme estimates argue that a vast majority of jobs could be replaced with AI, although these extreme statistics are unlikely to pan out. Regardless, the concern does create a need for employees and workers to be vigilant about the state of the economy and learn how to adapt to change.
Julie Bauke is the Chief Career Strategist at The Bauke Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. She tells Leaders Media that new jobs are going to replace the old jobs that have gone away and that the people who are most adaptable to the new technological paradigm are going to be the people who are the most flexible, agile, resilient, and eager to learn and embrace new things.
The people who will benefit most from this system will be the people who train themselves best to adjust to change.
“What I tell people is don’t go out and try to learn it all. Instead, start with how technology is currently being used in your profession and industry. How are your departments using AI? Identify the tools being used and learn about them. Start poking around. Hundreds of AI tools already exist and are being used. The worst thing you can do is cover your ears and ignore these changes unless you’re about to retire. Taking the initiative, learning, and being resilient will help employers recognize you as an employee who is ready to step into these new technologies. You don’t have to know it all, but you can’t bury your head in the sand,” she says.
Paradigm shifts have a way of creating anxiety and uncertainty. People have yet to learn what the economy and the world will look like in 20 years and how these technologies will affect every aspect of our lives, much in the way that the internet and the smartphone have reshaped commerce and communication. Many of the claims made about AI are catastrophizing and untrue, but it is true that technology will create change.
Bauke says the challenge with AI is going to be keeping up with that change. Employers will use AI to find ways to eliminate low-level tasks, and the advancement of the base technology will only create more nuanced and intelligent applications for it. Ongoing labor shortages and hiring problems are already driving the demand for the technology.
“Think about jobs where you can learn how to do it in its entirety in the first few days. Those are the kind of jobs that are easier to teach to tools and machines than complex jobs like psychiatrists and attorneys. You can’t put an AI in a courtroom, but you can use one to handle research instead of having interns or associates do it. Not all of these jobs are going to go away fully, but some will, and jobs will require embracing more technology, operating in this new world,” she says.
While this will likely diminish workers’ marketability, particularly for low-level workers, the changes will require the economy and education system to evolve around them. An advancement too quickly will result in a political backlash against AI. High schools and colleges are going to have to change their existing methods to address the new skills gaps that emerge as the labor market adjusts to what jobs can and cannot be replaced with AI. New skill sets and needs will emerge, and many entry-level jobs like fast food will go away.