OECD Report: A Quarter of Jobs Threatened by AI, Rapid Progress Warrants Caution

JJohn July 19, 2023 2:23 PM

A new report by the OECD warns that up to a quarter of jobs are at risk from artificial intelligence (AI), particularly for highly educated roles. The rapid pace of AI development and its potential impact on the job market call for a thoughtful approach to the roles we are willing to leave to AI.

Rising threat of AI to jobs

For decades, we've been warned about robots taking our jobs, and we've gotten used to thinking it might not happen quite so fast. But reality might be catching up with us. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released a report indicating that more than a quarter of jobs are at risk of being overtaken by AI.

The report specifically highlights the risks to professionals typically regarded as high-skilled. This includes doctors, bankers, lawyers, accountants, managers, engineers, and teachers. In a startling revelation, the report estimates that a total of 27% of jobs in member states are under the threat of automation.

OECD economist and co-author of the report, Stijn Broecke, highlights that AI has evolved beyond automating routine tasks. AI now has the capability to process new information independently and generate its own 'ideas', making it capable of automating tasks that require extensive cognitive work. This is a significant development expanding the potential scope of AI applications.

Rapid AI development sparks concern

Broecke expresses concern about the speed and scale of AI development. He emphasises that the rapid pace of technology may require us to reassess the roles we are willing to automate. According to him, while technological evolution impacting job markets is not unusual, the extent and speed of AI's development is worrying.

Urgent need for regulation review

The report calls for an urgent need for action to ensure AI is used responsibly and reliably. Broecke further points out that Europe's strong legal protections against discrimination and for preserving privacy should be reviewed in the light of AI's advancement. In an era where an AI system's decision could unfairly disadvantage someone, it's important to establish who bears responsibility.

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