AI in the workplace
March 9, 2023
Besides implications on homework, society is also grappling with the impact of AI in the workforce.
A common image in many science fiction films — the computer waiters in “Back to the Future Part 2,” the robot-nanny in “The Jetsons” or all the worker droids in the “Star Wars” — the world is dotted with dozens of ever-smart, ever-working androids who take the place of humans for simple tasks.
As large companies like Microsoft and Apple promise to make these science fiction dreams more of a reality with programs like OpenAI comes the ever-troublesome question of AI’s effects on the wider job market.
“AI definitely has the possibility to take over jobs, especially smaller jobs like grocery clerks and jobs involving coding,” junior Patrick Watson said. “I feel like AI will shut off a lot of paths, or it will force us to create more jobs that only humans can do.”
The growth of AI in the workforce still brings with it a plethora of ethical questions, primarily in regards to whether automation and efficiency that can come from AI outweigh the possible mass-layoffs and unemployment that too comes with AI being widely used.
“I think it can be a good thing, especially for things like surgeries where it takes out the human error,” social studies teacher DJ Gemmill said. “I also think it can be a bad thing if we don’t find a way to replace the jobs in the labor field. It can increase unemployment by replacing a lot of the jobs that maybe could be filled by people.”
It would seem that the fear of an AI takeover of jobs is still ever prevalent with a poll conducted by the company Tidio, finding that 69% of polled college graduates believe their job could be done by or made irrelevant by AI within their lifetime. Another poll reported on and conducted by CNBC and SurveyMonkey found that 37% of polled adults aged 18 to 24 believe their jobs will be taken or made obsolete by AI within the next five years.
Some students have recently been expressing some fear and concerns over the rise of AI in the workforce and what it means for their futures.
“I was thinking about going into a computer-related study,” junior Elizabeth Gudex said. “I ruled that out, though, because I don’t see that being a huge job market due to the growth of AI.”
The true scale of the impact that AI will have on the job market is yet to be seen, but there is little doubt that it is here to stay and now it’s just a matter of learning to live with it, and learning how humans play into the future world of jobs.
“In the near future I definitely still see humans holding onto most jobs, hopefully we’ll never get to the point like in ‘WALL-E,’” Gemmill said. “I just think there is always going to be a need for humans in the workplace regardless of how much computers advance.”