Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a key player in technological advancements, but its implications on the job market are becoming increasingly noticeable. In May 2023, about 3,900 people lost their jobs due to AI, marking the first time AI has been cited as a cause of job loss in the monthly report from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas.
This significant shift in the job market was part of a larger trend. Between January and May 2023, approximately 417,500 jobs were lost in total, making it the worst five-month start to a year since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The majority of these layoffs, including those attributed to AI, originated from the tech sector, which continues to innovate and develop AI technology.
There are diverse perspectives on this trend. Challenger expects it to continue, but there is uncertainty regarding how the number of jobs created by AI will compare to the number of jobs that are eliminated. Some companies may also be hesitant to acknowledge AI as a motivating factor for layoffs.
Several real-world instances highlight the growing influence of AI in the job market. The National Eating Disorder Association, a major US nonprofit, confirmed its decision to replace at least six helpline employees with an AI chatbot named Tessa. Despite some controversy surrounding the chatbot, this marked a significant shift towards AI-driven services in the sector.
In a similar vein, British telecommunications company BT Group announced plans to replace about 10,000 of the projected 55,000 job cuts over the next seven years with AI. The company’s existing chatbot, Amy, is already capable of answering many user questions and is expected to improve over time, further reducing the need for human intervention.
These developments suggest that what many people are worried and are very vocal about. That as AI technology continues to evolve and improve, its influence on the job market is likely to increase. The societal implications of this trend, including potential increases in unemployment and shifts in the types of jobs available, will be significant areas for further exploration, serious discussion and great impact in the coming years.