Hong Kong (CNN) As many as 300 million full-time jobs around the world could be automated in some way by the latest wave of artificial intelligence that spawned platforms like ChatGPT, according to Goldman Sachs economists.
They predicted in a report on Sunday that 18% of work could be automated globally, with the effects felt more deeply in advanced economies than emerging markets.
That’s partly because white-collar workers are more at risk than manual workers. Administrative staff and lawyers are expected to be most affected, the economists said, compared to the “little effect” seen in physically demanding or outdoor occupations, such as construction and repair work.
In the United States and Europe, about two-thirds of current jobs are “exposed to some degree of AI automation,” and up to a quarter of all work could be done entirely by AI, the bank estimates.
If generative artificial intelligence “lives up to its promised capabilities, the job market could face significant disruptions,” the economists wrote. The term refers to the technology behind ChatGPT, the chatbot sensation that has taken the world by storm.
ChatGPT, which can answer prompts and write essays, has already prompted many companies to rethink how people should work every day.
This month, the developer unveiled the latest version of the software behind the bot, GPT-4. The platform quickly impressed early adopters with its ability to simplify coding, quickly create a website from a simple sketch, and pass exams with high marks.
Further use of such AI is likely to lead to job losses, Goldman Sachs economists wrote. But they noted that technological innovation that initially displaces workers has also historically driven long-term job growth.
While workplaces may shift, widespread adoption of AI could ultimately boost labor productivity — and increase global GDP by 7% annually over a 10-year period, according to Goldman Sachs.
“While the impact of AI on the labor market is likely to be significant, most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and so will be complemented rather than replaced by AI,” the economists added.
“Most workers are employed in occupations that are partially exposed to AI automation and, following the adoption of AI, are likely to commit at least some of their freed capacity to productive activities that increase output.”
For example, among U.S. workers expected to be affected, 25% to 50% of their workload could be “replaced,” the researchers added.
“The combination of significant labor cost savings, new job creation, and an increase in productivity for non-displaced workers raises the possibility of a labor productivity explosion such as that that followed the emergence of earlier general-purpose technologies such as the electric motor and personal computer.”
– CNN’s Nicole Goodkind contributed to this report.
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