Impact of AI on White-Collar Work
Sun, April 18, 2021

Impact of AI on White-Collar Work

Developers are currently creating algorithms that promise to take over vast amounts of work in white-collar fields / Credits: langstrup via 123RF

 

When tackling how AI would impact the workforce, reports focus on blue-collar jobs as jobs that are more at risk. They are the workers who do manual labor such as construction workers, waiters, and more. However, recent studies indicate that AI would also affect white-collar work. MIT economics professor David Autor stated that middle management positions are particularly susceptible to the new wave of automation, particularly in fields like finance and inventory management.

In these jobs, humans are in charge of translating data into concrete business decisions. “Historically, tons of new work comes into existence as a result of automation. The whole industrial revolution came about as a result of the automation of artisanal tasks, but it would have been impossible for anyone at the dawn of that period to foresee where that would go,” he said. 

A 2019 study by the Brookings Institution report suggests that high-paid, educated workers will be highly exposed to new AI technology. According to Time, an American weekly news magazine and news website published in New York City, developers are currently creating algorithms that promise to take over vast amounts of work in white-collar fields like law and medicine. Thus, potentially upending traditionally high-status fields. The new wave of automation will also primarily target millions of paralegals, human resource managers, IT professionals, and other knowledge industry workers across the world. 

Richard Baldwin of the Graduate Institute in Geneva also suggests that AI will sharply reduce white-collar employment, displacing professionals in elite sectors from media and finance to architecture and law. “What we have is displacement being driven at the pace of digital technology, but job creation being driven at the pace of human ingenuity. What I’m worried about is that job displacement driven by digital will outstrip job creation driven by ingenuity,” he said.