“AI is going to take all of our jobs!”: If your news feed is anything like mine, it is hard to avoid the articles and posts about how AI is going to displace countless jobs in the workforce. Generative AI adoption is moving faster than any technology ever created, and according to a recent study by @Goldman Sachs it has the potential to impact two-thirds of current occupations. Many of us are naturally concerned about job displacement. I am not concerned.
As someone who’s been building AI products for the past 15 years (my last company was an AI company that was acquired by Google) , I see a distinctly different and positive outcome. I believe Generative AI will lead to job creation, productivity enhancement and renewed career opportunities the likes of which we have never seen in human history. History has played-out this technology introduction story many times and we commonly see the same set of outcomes:
Technology creates employment growth and new professions: According to the Goldman Sachs research, over 85% of employment growth in the last 80 years is explained by technology-driven creation of new positions. Put differently, without technology we don’t achieve enduring job growth. Generative AI is the next wave of growth.
The pace of job creation outpaces job loss: This 2017 article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the example of the introduction of spreadsheet software Visicalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel in the 1970s and 80s. The Finance industry roiled in fear over potential Bookkeeping job losses from this new tech, but the resulting reality was that job creation of new roles like Financial Analysts materially outpaced Bookkeeper displacement by a factor of ~2:1. Re-training was necessary, but the demand was undeniably higher for these new roles years before displacement of the old roles started. I believe this trend will repeat in earnest with AI for most of the impacted job functions around the world.
Productivity gains are undeniable, as are the economic gains that follow: Looking again at the Goldman research, which integrates multiple sources including the US Bureau of Labor and Census Bureau; whenever business adoption of a new technology crosses ~50% there is an ensuing productivity boom of +1.5% per year in the 10 years that follow. This equates to +7% in Global GDP growth in the next decade. That’s nearly $7 Trillion. Similar to previous trends, I believe this productivity gain is not just about each individual being more productive; we’ll also see more people entering the job market in more sophisticated roles because AI will help them achieve it.
The introductions of the electric motor (1890) and the personal computer (1981) took over 20 years to achieve wide scale adoption. With Generative AI, over 80% of humans now have mobile phones, AI technology is nearly frictionless to use and the price of AI is nearly free for the masses. ChatGPT famously achieved 100 million users in under three months. At the scale and pace we’re moving, Generative AI is going to create more jobs, increase productivity and offer renewed careers at light speed. The only questions are: how fast can we adapt? … and, have you jumped in yet? 🙂
Founder & CEO, NinjaTech AI