Report on AI's Workforce Impacts

April 24, 2024

Summary: AI’s Effect on the Workforce

AI development is on a trajectory to automate many jobs, and Americans are worried. 71% of Americans are concerned and 63% support government action, which makes sense given OpenAI's aim to create AI that outperforms humans in most jobs. 

AI’s capabilities are growing at a remarkable pace, and how jobs are affected will change with continued development. AI is now outperforming humans across many different tests. General-purpose AIs, AIs capable of functioning across modalities and different types of tasks, are further broadening the range of tasks that could be affected. 

Change is coming. While we can’t be sure of the exact effects AI will have on the workforce, research agrees that change is coming, and that it might come fast. One report found that AI might automate 50% of the average workday by 2045. Specific projections differ across studies, but there is some agreement on what and who is at risk:

Large-scale unemployment is possible. AI is only improving as further money is poured into it, and will likely eventually be capable of full automation, of automating all human work. We’ve never before seen a technology that surpasses humans in all tasks, and it would break the previous trend of us adapting from automation by creating new work for ourselves, as AI will be capable of doing the new work too, at a much cheaper rate. The average AI researcher estimates a 50% chance of AI automating all human jobs before 2116.

Legislation can address these risks:

  • The bipartisan Jobs of the Future Act of 2023 would commission a report on potential effects of AI on the workforce and identify policy options. We support the recommendations made there, and think if passed this would make great strides towards better preparing America for AI’s potential effects.
  • Congress should commission a report on how to best address a full automation scenario. What’s missing from the Jobs of the Future Act is preparation for AI that can automate all jobs. Korinek (2024) suggests having the Department of Treasury and Department of Health and Human Services develop an operational plan which addresses how changes to the tax code and the social safety net could be used to address mass unemployment.

Read the full report here.