· less than 3 min read
Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business
The latest wave of AI may not be coming for your job, but it might ultimately hit you in the paycheck.
That is the conclusion reached in a new paper this week from the European Central Bank, which sought to take stock of the evidence for and against AI’s potential as a job killer thus far. The title of the study gives a pretty good indication of where the authors came down on that question: “Reports of AI ending human labor may be greatly exaggerated.”
The economists did find, however, that AI-related automation might slightly hurt wages, though they noted that the data isn’t quite clear yet.
The paper comes as companies have been scrambling to put new large language model (LLM) AI to the test on everything from coding to customer service, leading to a fresh round of hand-wringing over a potential AI job apocalypse. So far, that outcome hasn’t come to pass. In fact, labor markets in Europe and the United States remain tight even in spite of recessions in some European countries this year.
The authors found that, in Europe, rather than subtracting jobs, AI-enabled automation was more likely to create more high-skill roles and lead to more employment for younger workers. Those findings stand in contrast to previous technology waves, which have tended to reduce medium-skill jobs, the paper notes.
That echoes some previous findings on the subject of generative AI and jobs, which have suggested that generative AI could create new roles at a rate that might outnumber those displaced.
What all this means for wages is less clear, however. At least one study cited in the report found that jobs that are more exposed to AI tend to have less wage growth. The authors summed up the overall potential impact on pay as “neutral to slightly negative,” but stressed that the evidence is far from clear and it’s likely much too early to tell.
“AI-enabled technologies continue to be developed and adopted. Most of their impact on employment and wages—and therefore on growth and equality—has yet to be seen,” the authors wrote.