Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives, transforming industries and the way we work. As AI technology advances, there is growing concern about its potential impact on the job market. Will AI replace humans in the workplace, rendering some jobs obsolete, or will it enhance productivity and create new job opportunities?
AI is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives, with applications ranging from virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to self-driving cars, and even chatbots like ChatGPT. Experts said that the integration of AI is expected to provide a significant boost to the global economy. It is predicted that by 2026, the global economy could see a $900 billion boost from the use of AI, and this could increase to $15.7 trillion by 2030.1
With the ongoing advancements in AI technology, many are becoming increasingly concerned about its potential impact on the job market. According to a report, machines are expected to perform more tasks than humans by 2025, leading to the displacement of 85 million jobs but also creating 97 million new ones.
Recently, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, announced the possibility of a second round of layoffs that could impact 10,000 workers across the company. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg stated that Meta will continue to invest heavily in advancing AI and incorporating it into all of its products. This trend of integrating AI into the workplace is not limited to Meta, as both Google and Microsoft have also introduced AI-writing capabilities to their collaboration tools.
According to a survey of 1,000 business leaders, the majority of them were impressed by the quality of work produced by AI language models like ChatGPT, leading some US-based companies to replace human workers with these models. Of the business leaders surveyed, 55% said the quality of work produced by ChatGPT was excellent, while 34% said it was very good.2
So, will AI replace humans? With the emergence of AI, it’s understandable that many of us might be a bit worried. We need to admit AI has the possibility of transforming almost every aspect of our lives. While some experts believe that this could lead to greater efficiency and productivity, others are pessimistic about the impact of AI on the labor market and society as a whole.
The Optimistic View
Proponents of AI argue that it has the potential to create new jobs and increase productivity, leading to greater economic growth and prosperity. Some people – let’s call them the optimists – are very excited about the advancements in AI that can surpass humans. They believe that AI has the potential to complete tasks more efficiently and accurately than humans.
AI is viewed by optimists as a tool to boost productivity, minimize errors, and increase profits. However, this also implies that a substantial number of both blue- and white-collar jobs are at risk of being replaced by AI. With the advancement of AI technology, numerous jobs currently performed by humans may be automated.
Currently, AI is being utilized in several industries, not just technology. The healthcare industry, for instance, has been using AI for various purposes to improve patients’ outcomes, reduce health costs, and enhance the overall efficiency of healthcare delivery. In fact, AI algorithms are now being used to analyze medical images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, to assist radiologists in identifying potential health issues. AI has even been able to diagnose breast cancer from mammograms with a comparable level of accuracy as trained radiologists.3
AI is also making its way into the creative industry, where it is being used to assist artists, designers, and creatives in various ways. One application of AI in the creative industry is in the field of music, where AI algorithms can compose and generate music, creating unique and original pieces. For example, Amper Music is an AI-powered platform that allows users to create original music by selecting parameters like tempo, mood, and genre.4
Content writing is also one of the industries that is impacted by AI. With the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms, AI tools are now capable of generating high quality content, ranging from product descriptions to news articles. These tools are designed to mimic human writing styles and can produce content that is grammatically correct, concise, and readable.
Other white-collar industries, such as finance and insurance, are not immune to AI disruption as well. There has been a report that around 43% of tasks performed by workers in the finance and insurance sector could be automated.5 In the finance industry, AI is being used to automate routine tasks and improve decision making processes. For example, AI algorithms can be used to analyze large sets of financial data, such as stock prices and market trends, to identify patterns and make predictions about future market behavior. This information can then be used by investors to make informed investment decisions.
Even so, despite the discussion of AI technology replacing humans–and certainly supported by various studies, this optimistic view also presents another argument. Although AI may replace humans in some areas, it can also create new job opportunities, such as data analysis, software development, and AI research. These new opportunities can drive economic growth and create new jobs, potentially offsetting some of the jobs lost to automation.
The Pessimistic View
Yes, AI has the potential to speed up our work processes, and it’s hard to deny its benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity. However, it is important to consider the potential downsides of relying too heavily on AI. On the pessimistic side, one major concern is the risk of job loss and economic inequality, which could arise if machines replace human workers in large numbers. As a report said, by 2025 AI could displace 85 million jobs, while creating 97 million new ones.6 However, the new jobs may require different skill sets than those displaced, which could lead to a mismatch in the job market.
Another potential downside of AI is the loss of human skills and creativity. While machines can automate routine tasks and data processing, they lack the ability to think creatively or understand the nuances of human emotion and social interaction. This could lead to a situation where human workers are replaced by machines that can only perform certain tasks, leading to a loss of the uniquely human qualities that make work meaningful.
Furthermore, there are ethical concerns around the use of AI, particularly in terms of authenticity and originality. As AI becomes more sophisticated, there is a risk that it could be used to create fake news or deep fake videos, which could be used to spread misinformation or manipulate public opinion. It’s important to ensure that AI is used ethically and responsibly to avoid these negative outcomes and to ensure that it benefits society as a whole.
The issue of originality is also a common concern when it comes to AI. Essentially, AI is a form of machine learning that processes vast amounts of existing data to learn and make predictions. While AI-generated text could be grammatically correct and structurally sound, it lacked the creative spark that makes writing truly original.7 AI writing tends to be repetitive and lacks the unique voice and tone that human writers bring to their work.
In other words, while AI can be used to create new things or solve complex problems, it is ultimately limited by the data it has access to. It cannot come up with entirely new ideas or concepts that have not been previously observed or recorded. Instead, it relies on patterns and trends that already exist in the data to generate new insights.
Human with AI
To answer the question about whether AI can replace humans or not, we can say AI can’t replace humans in the workplace entirely. AI indeed has the potential to outperform humans in certain tasks and can enhance our productivity at work. But, it is unlikely that it will ever be able to completely replace us in the workplace.
AI, following Alan Turning’s philosophy, is designed to mimic human actions, emotions, speech, and decision-making. This mimicking ability gives AI the appearance of being intelligent. AI’s strengths in identifying patterns and optimizing relevant job trends make it well-suited for lower-level routine tasks that are repetitive and occur in a closed management system.8
Despite the advancements in AI technology, it still cannot surpass the creative thinking and problem-solving abilities of humans. Thus, industries that require these skills will still need human workers. It’s important to note that humans and machines possess different strengths that complement each other. Humans excel at problem-solving in situations with ambiguity or uncertainty, while machines excel at processing vast amounts of data and identifying patterns quickly. However, as AI technology continues to advance, we should not underestimate its potential to perform certain tasks.
Basically, the presence of AI is not to replace humans – as in sci-fi movies. AI is here to assist humans in their work. As a society, we need to find ways to work alongside AI to improve efficiency and productivity. While AI currently lacks the ability to be creative and empathetic, it’s important to acknowledge that technology is constantly advancing, and there’s a possibility that AI could become much more advanced in the future. In the end, it’s our responsibility as humans to be prepared for these changes and to be resilient to the evolving nature of work.