Elon Musk posits that artificial intelligence (AI) will ultimately render human jobs obsolete, pushing society into a realm where employment becomes unnecessary. Is there evidence supporting this claim already surfacing? Aggregate figures may suggest so.
Recent data from a survey of 750 business leaders utilizing AI, conducted by ResumeBuilder, reveals that 37% acknowledged the technology displacing workers in 2023. Additionally, 44% anticipate layoffs in 2024 as a result of AI-driven efficiency gains.
However, despite reports of AI-triggered job reductions, numerous experts challenge Musk’s perspective. Julia Toothacre, a resume and career strategist at ResumeBuilder, acknowledges that their research figures might not accurately mirror the broader business landscape.
“While layoffs due to AI are occurring, numerous traditional organizations and small businesses don’t adopt technology to the extent seen in larger companies,” Toothacre remarked.
Acknowledging the reality of layoffs, proponents argue that AI simultaneously allows business leaders to reshape and redefine job roles.
Alex Hood, the chief product officer at Asana, a project management and collaboration software firm, estimates that nearly half of our work hours involve ancillary tasks, which he terms “work about work.”
“If AI can reduce this workload, it could result in substantial efficiency gains,” Hood explained.
He argues that the statistics projecting AI-induced layoffs, lacking nuanced context, primarily reflect apprehension rather than reality.
Marc Cenedella, founder of Leet Resumes and Ladders, believes that as AI takes on task-oriented work, it will enable workers to ascend the value chain. He draws parallels to the shift in mid-century office culture, which witnessed the displacement of typists by word processors’ efficiency.
According to Asana’s State of AI at Work 2023 report, employees estimate that 29% of their tasks are susceptible to AI replacement. However, Asana advocates for “human-centered AI,” aiming to augment human capabilities and foster collaboration rather than outrightly replace individuals.
The report emphasizes that increased comprehension of human-centered AI corresponds to a heightened belief in its positive impact on work.
Analytical and communication tools have historically reshaped knowledge work, and the evolution towards “generative AI” is viewed as a continuation of this trend, impacting approximately 19.6%–30.4% of globally employed white-collar and clerical workers, according to the United Nations.