Economic Factors, Not AI, Seen as Larger Threat to Jobs, HSBC Report Finds

JJohn July 20, 2023 8:01 AM

Contrary to popular fears of artificial intelligence (AI) leading to job losses, a new HSBC report suggests that other economic factors pose a more significant threat. While AI's impact on the job market is undeniable, it may also create new job roles.

The AI and jobs debate

The rapid rise of ChatGPT, an AI-powered technology, has fanned the flames of anxiety over AI taking over human jobs. As AI's capabilities become more apparent, the debate over its potential impact on careers has grown. Experts, however, argue that while AI can partially automate jobs, it often creates new roles as well, leaving the actual extent of its influence uncertain.

Macroeconomic trends vs AI

A new report from banking giant HSBC suggests that we may be looking in the wrong direction for the biggest threats to jobs. Their research, using data from the World Economic Forum's 'Report on Jobs 2023,' points to macroeconomic trends as the more likely culprits behind future job losses, rather than AI developments.

Slow economic growth and job loss

According to HSBC's report, the most frequently cited factor that companies anticipate leading to job losses is slower economic growth. The World Bank, for instance, has forecasted a significantly slower global economic growth rate in 2023 compared to previous years, which can lead to many businesses operating with fewer workers.

Contrary to widespread fears, the adoption of new technologies, including AI, might actually result in more jobs. HSBC's report cites World Economic Forum data showing that a significant share of companies anticipates AI to create more jobs than it replaces.

While AI generally gets the lion's share of attention when it comes to job displacement fears, the emergence of both humanoid and non-humanoid robots is a tech-related factor that's expected to make certain roles redundant. However, the exact impact of these technologies on the labor market remains to be fully understood.

Other economic factors and job loss

Beyond slower economic growth, the HSBC report identifies other potential threats to job stability. These include supply shortages, rising costs for both businesses and consumers, and the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Such factors could force companies to operate with fewer employees, further fueling job losses.

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