The Overlooked Reality of AI and Job Displacement

Blog post description.


Jared Lukes

11/5/20232 min read

I firmly believe that job displacement due to artificial intelligence will be significantly more substantial than anticipated. There are reasons why this displacement is not only underestimated but also why its realization may arrive late, with potentially catastrophic effects.

When listening to economists and futurists across news channels and blogs discussing the post-AI workplace, certain arguments surface repeatedly. These, upon closer examination with a dose of common sense, appear obviously fallacious, and it's surprising they're even being considered.

The first argument follows the 'we've seen it before' narrative, suggesting that technology and automation have always been seen as threats to jobs since the '50s. This perspective is based on specific skill automation, such as in manufacturing plants where robots were designed for particular tasks. Now, we are facing a new breed of automation – robots and AI systems that are vastly more generalized, capable of a range of movements and decisions, and not just one specific action. This leap from specific to generalized capabilities means the potential for job displacement is exponentially greater.

The second argument hinges on the belief that AI won't lead to unprecedented job displacement because workers will simply shift to new roles. I disagree. The AI being developed today is modular, adaptable, and far more competitive with human skill sets. It's not about replacing one worker; it's about AI systems that can replace the functions of entire teams across various points in production and service industries.

Some suggest that AI will lead to job creation (lol). However, when one person aided by AI can match the productivity of dozens, what happens to the job creation ratio? It's not just a shift in jobs; it's an outright evaporation. We're not facing a mere disruption but a fundamental reshaping of job economics.

The silent creep of job displacement is another factor often overlooked. Displaced workers are not likely to announce their plight loudly; their struggle is private, tied deeply to their identity and sense of self-worth. By the time the collective voice is loud enough to be heard, the displacement is already widespread.

As AI integrates more deeply into our workforce, we must confront the reality that it represents not just a tool but a replacement of old and potentially new jobs. It demands that we urgently consider how society and economic models value human labor and productivity.

The era of generalized AI we're entering is unprecedented, and clinging to outdated narratives will only hinder our readiness. Now is the time for critical thinking, open dialogue, and strategic planning to navigate the impending challenges head-on.