Job losses and changing skill requirements are two of the possible negative economic impacts
The White House has released a report detailing the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) will impact society and the economy over the coming years.
The ‘Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy’ report outlines both the positive and negative economic effects of AI and automation, as well as suggesting strategies for addressing the changes that will likely occur.
“AI-driven automation will transform the economy over the coming years and decades,” the report says, highlighting that there is plenty of work to be done in order to be able to respond to the economic effects.
“Accelerating AI capabilities will enable automation of some tasks that have long required human labor,” the report explains. “These transformations will open up new opportunities for individuals, the economy, and society, but they will also disrupt the current livelihoods of millions of Americans.”
“The challenge for policymakers will be to update, strengthen, and adapt policies to respond to the economic effects of AI.”
Specifically, it outlines five possible impacts that policymakers need to prepare for: Positive contributions to aggregate productivity growth; changes in the skills demanded by the job market; the uneven distribution of impact across sectors, job types and wage levels; the “churning” of the job market as jobs disappear and are created and the short-term loss of jobs for some workers.
The report speaks of “substantial uncertainty” about the true impact the technology will have. Whilst it is possible that the economic effects may not be much different from previous decades, a “larger shock, with accelerating changes in the job market, and significantly more workers in need of assistance” is also possible.
This uncertainty poses a serious challenge for policymakers: “Because the effects of AI-driven automation will be felt across the whole economy, and the areas of greatest impact may be difficult to predict, policy responses must be targeted to the whole economy.”
The strategies suggested for addressing the impact of AI and automation centre around investing in the benefits of AI, educating and training citizens for future jobs and aiding workers in the transition to an technology-driven world.
Whilst the economic impacts are uncertain, it’s clear that AI is central to the future of technology. Breakthroughs are being made on an almost weekly basis, prompting MPs to call out the UK government for not giving it the attention it deserves.