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White House report warns that millions of jobs may be in trouble

White House report warns that millions of jobs may be in trouble
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We've seen a great deal of technological advances over the years. Many of them have improved our lives greatly. Smart appliances, virtual assistants and other Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets to name a few.

However, some innovations actually have a negative impact on some people's lives. One example is when workers lose jobs because of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Millions of American workers could be left unemployed in the coming years by AI technology. In an effort to be prepared for such a problem, the White House released a report explaining the economical impacts of AI.

How AI impacts the economy

The White House report warns that with the expansion of AI technology, a massive number of workers could lose their jobs. People with less education will be impacted the most.

Here is an overview of the report's findings:

"Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and related fields have opened up new markets and new opportunities for progress in critical areas such as health, education, energy, economic inclusion, social welfare, and the environment. In recent years, machines have surpassed humans in the performance of certain tasks related to intelligence, such as aspects of image recognition.

"Experts forecast that rapid progress in the field of specialized artificial intelligence will continue. Although it is unlikely that machines will exhibit broadly-applicable intelligence comparable to or exceeding that of humans in the next 20 years, it is to be expected that machines will continue to reach and exceed human performance on more and more tasks.

"AI-driven automation will continue to create wealth and expand the American economy in the coming years, but, while many will benefit, that growth will not be costless and will be accompanied by changes in the skills that workers need to succeed in the economy, and structural changes in the economy. Aggressive policy action will be needed to help Americans who are disadvantaged by these changes and to ensure that the enormous benefits of AI and automation are developed by and available to all."

The White House is predicting that two fields of work that will be taken over by AI are cashiering and driving positions. We recently told you how Amazon Go lets you skip the checkout line at the grocery store. If other companies follow Amazon's lead, it could mean the end of cashiering jobs.

That, along with car manufacturers coming out with autonomous vehicles, could end the need for the driving industry as well. Here's an article we wrote about a self-driving truck making a beer run.

The report isn't all doom and gloom for the economy. It states that AI will improve productivity growth in the U.S., which could result in higher wages and people working fewer hours. In fact, the report calls for more AI technology.

How to make AI impacts positive

The researchers that put this report together say advances in AI technology can actually help the U.S. economy. The challenge for policymakers will be to update, strengthen, and adapt policies to respond to the economic effects of AI.

Economic analysis suggests that policymakers should prepare for these five primary economic effects:

  • Positive contributions to aggregate productivity growth
  • Changes in the skills demanded by the job market, including greater demand for higher-level technical skills
  • Uneven distribution of impact, across sectors, wage levels, education levels, job types, and locations
  • Churning of the job market as some jobs disappear while others are created
  • The loss of jobs for some workers in the short-run, and possibly longer depending on policy responses

The researchers say education and training are keys to adapting to an AI workforce.

"As AI changes the nature of work and the skills demanded by the labor market, American workers will need to be prepared with the education and training that can help them continue to succeed. If the United States fails to improve at educating children and retraining adults with the skills needed in an increasingly AI-driven economy, the country risks leaving millions of Americans behind and losing its position as the global economic leader."

If you want to read the entire report, click here. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how AI ultimately impacts the U.S. economy.

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