artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence may create as many jobs as it destroys.

First, let’s get one thing straight: Artificial Intelligence will destroy some jobs, and that has plenty of folks freaked out.

But there’s evidence that it may create as many or more jobs as it ends.

First, the freak out. A Quartz survey last year showed that people are very concerned about the impact of AI on jobs. According to Quartz, 90 percent of survey respondents believe up to half of jobs would be lost to automation within five years.

But, according to VentureBeat, the threat to employment maybe overblown. The site reports:

This week, a study published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggested that by 2037 in the U.K., widespread adoption of AI could generate more jobs than it displaces. The health care market alone stands to grow by 1 million (about a fifth of its existing jobs), according to PwC, while law, accounting, and advertising firms could gain as many as half a million jobs.

PwC’s findings jibe with Gartner’s, which in December predicted AI would create a net 500,000 jobs by 2020 and 2 million by 2025. Researchers at the McKinsey Global Institute, meanwhile, concluded that while as many as 73 million jobs are at risk of being automated by 2030, new ones will be created in their wake.

Still, those kind of numbers will be cold comfort to families and communities impacted by the widespread job losses automation does create. Not all those who lose such jobs will readily find their equal, since different skills are often requires.

Worries about such suffering may yet lead to the adoption of something along the lines of universal basic income, according to VentureBeat, or other measures to help people through the inevitable upheaval.

Meanwhile, corporations are going full speed ahead to develop the next generation of AI.

“We’ve long believed that the AI fear of ‘man vs. machine’ is hyperbole, and that ‘man alongside machine’ is the real opportunity — not a threat to today’s workforce,” Spier told VentureBeat in an email. “[There’s a] widen[ing] skills gap between traditional and machine-augmented work, but it also creates a real need for new training, new types of experts, and, ultimately, a shift from the workforce we know to a workforce open to endless possibilities, as far as new skills, productivity, and contributions by humans made hand-in-hand with machines.”