AI will create more jobs than it destroys: think tank director

Fear runs rampant amongst many who synthetic intelligence will automate away a lot of our jobs.

But fret not, says Michael Strain, director of financial coverage research on the American Enterprise Institute.

“At least for the next several decades, the odds of AI causing a jobs apocalypse are vanishingly small,” he wrote in a commentary for Project Syndicate.

Concern that know-how will destroy jobs runs again at the least to the English Luddites of the early 19th century. “Yet even though technology has leapt forward in the two centuries since then, businesses continue to employ workers,” Strain notes.

Much of the worry is “rooted in a zero-sum mentality that fundamentally misunderstands how economies evolve,” he mentioned.

Creative destruction

“Yes, new technologies will be able to perform some tasks better and at lower cost than humans. Yes, this will lead businesses to use technology, not workers, for those tasks. But the process of creative destruction creates as well as destroys.”

The good facet: “New technology will make many workers more productive and thus of greater value to firms,” Strain mentioned.

So corporations will “compete more aggressively for workers, driving up their wages and incomes,” he mentioned. “Higher incomes will increase overall demand for goods and services in the economy, which in turn will increase the need for workers.”

In addition, “new technology creates novel goods and services, which also increases demand for workers.”

Disruptive, however not dangerous

Technology advances over the previous 5 many years have decreased the employment share of producing and clerical jobs. “But it has not become more difficult for workers to find jobs,” Strain mentioned. “There has not been an upward trend in the unemployment rate.”

For the following a number of many years, “my main concern is not too many workers, but too few,” Strain mentioned. “Falling fertility rates and rapid population aging will reduce the rate of workforce growth.”

Of course AI shall be disruptive. “But not by substantially reducing the need for workers,” Strain mentioned. “Instead, AI will change what many workers do.”