Will AI cause a greater unemployment rate in the long run?

A new article by Joanne, a student at Concord College, aspiring to work in AI in the future.

Photo from Unsplash

It can be agreed that the introduction of AI would cause mass structural unemployment worldwide, their unmatched efficiency and lower costs makes it seem much more attractive to businesses, thus easily replacing the human workforce. With all this in mind, it is understandable for many to be concerned of what the future may entail for us all. With many of the seemingly complicated tasks being replaced by AI, how would society handle the sudden surge of unemployment?

Due to the sheer complexity of the situation and how unpredictable the outcome maybe, we can try speculate and predict the potential outcomes. One way would be to refer back to our history, the Industrial Revolution. The sudden surge of technical innovations has caused many who work within factories, to lose their jobs, replaced by specialized machines. This sadly caused numerous other problems to arise, such as child labour, poor working conditions, heavy pollution of the air and water bodies due to emissions from factories and so on.

Despite this, the Industrial Revolution has also brought in benefits for society. The average wages has increased, which benefitted the middle- class most as they were able to have a higher quality of living. Since total cost of production from firms has decreased, leading to a fall in prices as well, making goods and services all the more affordable to the mass. With the aid of machines, the total output has significantly increased, causing a huge economic growth. This increase in available resources allowed the government to spare more resources on healthcare and education, improving the living standards of the economy. Although many of those who were in factories doing repetitive tasks have gotten the short end of the stick, all these factors has benefitted society as whole in the long run. The introduction of machines has taken over many repetitive tasks, causing many to lose their jobs, but this has also introduced to even more new jobs into society.

Overall, AI would cause unemployment within the labour market, but in the long run, new job opportunities will be introduced and integrated into our world. It is unfortunate that some unemployed workers would have extreme difficulty in adjusting to the dramatic changes, but changes seem inevitable. Thus decisive steps should be taken by the government to help everyone be ready for more advanced AI, be flexible to the changes and thus adapt. Encouraging and providing re and up- skilling the workers would be the best course of action to reduce the level of mass unemployment in the short run, and instead embrace it cautiously


Article: https://www.artificialintelligence-news.com/2018/09/17/wef-predicts-machines-will-do-more-tasks-than-humans-by-2025-but-jobs-still-to-go-up/ (by: James Bourne)