The rise of AI technology has sparked concerns over job displacement, with the fear that machines could outperform humans in various tasks. However, a new study by the European Central Bank (ECB) suggests that these concerns might be overstated. Published on Tuesday, the paper indicates that AI is not eliminating jobs but may be influencing wages.
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During the deep learning boom of the 2010s, the study found that opportunities for younger and highly skilled workers increased rather than disappeared. While the ECB cautiously notes that these findings are not an acquittal, they suggest that fears of AI entirely replacing human labor may be exaggerated.
The research focused on 16 European countries and examined the relationship between AI-enabled technologies and employment shares from 2011 to 2019. Notably, sectors exposed to AI experienced an increase in employment shares. Surprisingly, low- and medium-skill jobs remained largely unaffected, while highly-skilled positions saw the most significant boost.
Despite these positive indicators, the study uncovered “neutral to slightly negative impacts” on wage growth for occupations more exposed to AI. The paper acknowledges that the full impact of AI on employment, wages, growth, and equality is yet to be seen, as AI technologies continue to evolve and be adopted.
In contrast to past technology waves, where computerization led to a decrease in the relative share of employment for medium-skilled workers, the study suggests a different trend with AI. The impact on employment seems to be more positive, at least during the examined period.
The findings provide a nuanced perspective on the relationship between AI and the job market, challenging the notion that AI will inevitably lead to widespread job loss. However, the study emphasizes the ongoing development and adoption of AI-enabled technologies, suggesting that their true impact is still unfolding.
This research could bring hope to American workers who have expressed concerns about AI’s potential to replace human roles. A recent survey by Spokeo revealed that a significant portion of respondents (66.6%) believe AI could perform their workplace duties, with 74.8% expressing concerns about its impact on their industry.
Interestingly, despite these concerns, U.S. workers appear optimistic about AI’s future role in the workplace. The majority of respondents (78.1%) believe that AI could reduce job-related stress, and 76.7% anticipate a reduction in the number of working days in the week for the average American. Additionally, 79.1% of those surveyed believe that employers should provide training for AI tools like ChatGPT.