Innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to affect up to 300 million jobs but there is still “significant uncertainty” about the promise of the technology, a new report from Goldman Sachs concludes.
The emergence of “generative” technologies like OpenAI’s GPT-4, which can generate realistic content including text and images, has the potential to create “significant disruption” for the labour market, the finance firm believes.
The latest generation of AIs can understand dozens of languages, write computer code, and generate realistic copy in an instant – with its “ability to generate content that is indistinguishable from human-created output and to break down communication barriers between humans and machines” reflecting a “major advancement with potentially large macroeconomic effects”.
In the US and Europe, “roughly two-thirds of current jobs are exposed to some degree of AI automation” and AI could ultimately “substitute up to one-fourth of current work”, it is predicted.
“Although the impact of AI on the labour market is likely to be significant, most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and are thus more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI.
The highest exposure to AI is in office and administrative support, legal professions, architecture and engineering.
The industries exposed to AI
The share of work in each sector in the US that could be automated, according to Goldman Sachs:
- Office and administrative support – 46 per cent
- Legal – 44 per cent
- Architecture and engineering – 37 per cent
- Life, physical, and social science – 36 per cent
- Business and financial operations – 35 per cent
- Community and social service – 33 per cent
- Management – 32 per cent
- Sales and related – 31 per cent
- Computer and mathematical – 29 per cent
- Farming, fishing, and forestry – 28 per cent
- Protective service – 28 per cent
- Healthcare practitioners and technical – 28 per cent
- Educational instruction and library – 27 per cent
- Healthcare support – 26 per cent
- Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media – 26 per cent
- All industries – 25 per cent
- Personal care and service – 19 per cent
- Food preparation and serving related – 12 per cent
- Transportation and material moving – 11 per cent
- Production – 9 per cent
- Construction and extraction – 6 per cent
- Installation, maintenance, and repair – 4 per cent
- Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance – 1 per cent
Despite potentially dire consequences for workers, it would mark an “economically significant” boost to global productivity – which could increase global GDP by up to 7 per cent.
Goldman Sachs adds that worker displacement from automation “has historically been offset by creation of new jobs, and the emergence of new occupations following technological innovations accounts for the vast majority of long-run employment growth.”
AI is “well-positioned to advance rapidly and grow in scale in the coming years” at a speed akin to tech advancements that brought the power of the personal computer to the masses, the report adds.
The technology has already begun to surpass human abilities for tasks such as image classification and reading comprehension.