People have long been worried about the loss of their jobs to robots and AI. But there is good news: most jobs are too expensive to be replaced by artificial intelligence, according to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
AI and robots aren’t ready to take over jobs
The study looked at jobs that use computer vision, such as teaching, surveying, and baking. Surprisingly, the researchers found that only 23 percent of workers’ wages in these jobs could be replaced by AI. It will take until 2026 for half of these jobs to become cheaper to do with AI. By 2042, there will still be jobs that are better done by humans.
The study collected information on 1000 visually assisted tasks in 800 occupations through online surveys. At present, only 3% of these tasks are automatable, but the researchers believe that this could rise to 40% by 2030 as the cost of data falls and AI improves. It is often cheaper to use humans. AI also has the problem of being a power hog, and companies have difficulty adjusting. These are skills that will still be very important in the labor market.
Of course, artificial intelligence will be a game changer for many jobs. In sectors such as banking, marketing, retail, legal services, transport, and healthcare, there are many repetitive tasks that can be automated. A Goldman Sachs report estimates that around 300 million jobs (18 percent of global jobs) could be affected by AI. The MIT study also says that as AI gets better at using data and being accurate, it will be able to do more and more tasks.
So while AI may bring some change, the idea that machines will take all our jobs may be a bit of a stretch.
Featured image credit: Barış Selman / DALL-E 3