Will AI Take Our Jobs?

Will AI Take Our Jobs?

When you listen to people talk about AI, there’s one thing that many of them are worried about:

“Will it take our jobs?”

It’s an understandable concern, because each of us has one in each of us relies on it for things like grocery money and healthcare.

So it’s a major issue if AI ends up taking away a lot of jobs that Americans do on a daily basis!


For some insight, I interviewed a few dozen MIT undergrads with experience in the industry at an MIT Deep Learning class I am connected with. I asked them:

“When will intelligent AI robots will produce the majority of the world’s labor? 1-2 years, 3-5 years, 6-10 years , 10+ years or never? (or no strong opinion)?”

Here’s what they had to say:

The majority of our respondents said it will be 10 years or more before AI really starts taking over a lot of common labor that humans are now used to doing.

A few said it would be one to three years, and a couple of them said the change is likely in three to five years. One respondent said that AI would never take over in the ways we’re thinking about.

Others had more nuanced responses…

“The majority of software developers will be replaced not entirely by AI, but by senior engineers using AI to become 10-100X more efficient, eliminating the need for Jr. Developers entirely,” wrote one student, focusing specifically on this labor pool. “Additionally, more people will be able to build software solutions through natural language interfaces and just having a conversation with AI, iterating and giving it feedback in real time.”

Another of our respondents, an entrepreneur with experience in AI research, had this to say:

“Red, white, and blue collar labor will be completely revamped in various ways, and labor will shift from red and blue to more white collar, but they’ll never be more then 51%, (since that) would also inadvertently mean an astronomical unemployment, which would cripple the entire world economy … just because you can automate it, doesn’t mean it can troubleshoot itself.”

“Within the next 1-3 years, AI bots will have impact on many of our industries,” wrote another. “However, the labor market will not be disrupted by AI bots sooner. The reason is this: the mechanical engineering improvements are not there yet to create general-purpose AI bots to replace our labor force… Additionally, across the world, still, human labor is much cheaper than heavy investment in AI technology, to perform low-cost manual labor jobs with low labor costs in countries like China and India. At least for next 20-30 years, manual labor jobs will dominate the world for (sic) less skilled, general labor needs.”

So basically, many of our experts don’t see this happening with lightning speed. And they see it happening in pieces, over a longer time frame. There are also a lot of indicators that people’s jobs aren’t going to disappear, but simply change. We’ve been looking at certain presentations like Factories on the Frontier, where factory workers talk about how well they’re using robots in industrial environments. What you hear, time and time again, is that the humans end up having jobs as the machine handlers. People don’t just turn the machines loose in a facility and fire every person. There are lots of jobs in maintenance and oversight, not to mention selling and dealing with the inventory produced by these fantastic AI entities.

So don’t get too scared when you hear about AI coming for your job. But do be aware that AI is becoming able to do more and more every year, in a very new kind of economy, and the uncharted waters of a high-tech culture.

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