31 Jul “fantasies of a future utopia”
AI will give everyone the chance to hang out on the beach, sip a daiquiri, and avoid work.
Discussions of A.I. in the workforce oscillate between alarm bells of mass unemployment and fantasies of a future utopia where everyone is free to pursue their passions instead of grinding out a career. While the particulars of how generative A.I. will transform the workforce may be debatable, experts and workers alike believe that change is inevitable.
One of the worst things you can do, IMO, whether we’re talking about the broader economy or the job market specifically, is bury your head in the sand and assume the next 20 years will be the same as the ones before it. ❌ Huh-uh. I don’t think so.
A comprehensive new report from consulting giant McKinsey tries to quantify these impending changes by examining how the mix of jobs might change over time. Crucially, McKinsey’s research reaches a point of view that has been uncommon so far in the discourse—that A.I. will not wipe out jobs in the long term. Even though the research in question “cannot definitively rule out job losses, at least in the short term.” The sectors most exposed to generative A.I. could still add jobs through 2030 but at a slower pace than previously anticipated, the report concludes.
Instead, A.I. will either change the way certain jobs are done or create an opportunity for employees in lower-paying jobs to move into high-paying positions, provided they receive adequate training. McKinsey’s report estimates 12 million people will switch careers by 2030, 25% more than it projected just two years ago. Workers will change careers owing to a variety of factors. Though some may see their jobs disappear, others will gravitate toward higher paying fields, or ones where their skills are in greater demand.
-Yahoo Finance, Ibid. emphasis mine
2030 is not that far away.
Ya know, I’m having a flashback to something else I read . . .
AI will create ‘useless class’ of human, predicts bestselling historian
Smarter artificial intelligence is one of 21st century’s most dire threats, writes Yuval Noah Harari in follow-up to Sapiens
Or this one . . .
Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again.
The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs. The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms. Consequently, by 2050 a new class of people might emerge – the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable.
The same technology that renders humans useless might also make it feasible to feed and support the unemployable masses through some scheme of universal basic income. The real problem will then be to keep the masses occupied and content. People must engage in purposeful activities, or they go crazy. So what will the useless class do all day?
Has the timeline gone up from 2050 to 2030? Time will tell, I suppose.