How the AI ​​revolution is different: It threatens white-collar workers

The rise of artificial intelligence like ChatGPT has raised fears about these tools replace people in a variety of occupations, from coders to truck drivers. While such concerns tend to ignore the technology’s job-creating potential, new forms of artificial intelligence pose a risk to some workers, new research from Indeed suggests: White-collar workers.

“Surprisingly, knowledge workers face the highest level of exposure here, which is quite different from what we’ve seen with other revolutions,” Gudell said. “With automation, it was often manual work that was replaced,” Svenja Gudell, chief economist at the job search platform, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Unlike previous cycles of technical innovation, in-person, often low-paying jobs that rely heavily on people being physically present are likely to be the most resistant to encroaching AI, she added.

“Driving still requires a person. Or childcare. We probably wouldn’t give our kids over to the robots quite yet,” she said. Gudell added that “We will see the destruction of some jobs, but also the creation of others along the way. The human element is still very important in these jobs – you really can’t do without it.”

Which jobs are most at risk?

Among the openings currently on Indeed are software and coding jobs most exposed to replacement by artificial intelligence, the company found in an analysis. That’s because so-called generative AI was determined to be capable of performing 95% of the skills these jobs require.

In addition to software development, information technology, mathematics, information design, legal and accounting positions are also among the more exposed occupations.

In contrast, truck and taxi driver jobs are the least exposed to artificial intelligence, which according to Indeed could only perform about 30% of the required skills adequately. Other jobs relatively insulated from AI include cleaning and sanitation, and beauty and wellness jobs, in part because they are least likely to be outsourced.

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Another key takeaway, according to Indeed: The more suitable a job is for remote work, the higher its potential exposure to generative AI-driven change.

“A lot of in-person jobs rely heavily on the human element. You can mix parts of generative AI in there, but at the end of the day, a nurse still needs to be there to stick the needle in the patient’s arm to draw blood. With salespeople, there’s a lot of personal communication going on , when talking to customers,” Gudell said.

To be sure, AI is unlikely to ever fully replace humans, even in areas where the technology excels. But it could displace some workers whose jobs are rote and who don’t use AI to make them more productive.

“It can mean that you as an employee can use these tools and focus on higher productivity skills on the job. From the employer’s perspective, instead of hiring 15 copy editors, you can hire five because generative AI is carrying the load,” Gudell said.

Of all the job vacancies on its platform, Indeed said 20% are highly exposed to generative AI. Just over 45% are moderately exposed, and 35% are minimally exposed, the company found.

Still, it’s probably too early for workers in high-risk occupations to overhaul their careers based solely on the potential threat of AI, according to Indeed.

“It’s too early to switch to another job because we’re still at the beginning of this technological evolution,” Gudell said. “We want to see what that means for the jobs of the future, to see how that will translate into everyday actions on the job.”

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