What experts really mean when they say A.I. could take over the workplace

March 2, 2023, 12:41 PM UTC
Artificial Intelligence - Chatbot concept
Almost 69% of people with graduate degrees expressed fear of losing their jobs to A.I, according to a survey by Tidio.
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Good morning!

We have nothing to fear but fear itself—and possibly, A.I. in the workplace. (I’m only half kidding.) The point is, recent advancements in A.I. have sparked both awe and anxiety among employees and employers alike as they begin to examine what jobs the technology might soon make obsolete. But some experts say this might be an overreaction. 

The panic comes as no surprise. Every week, technology seems to automate another task or fulfill yet another role. According to the CEO of Axel Springer, even my role as a journalist might be at risk. My colleague Paige McGlauflin took a deeper look in her most recent reporting for Fortune and found that the A.I. anxiety is hitting employees at all levels. 

Almost 69% of people with graduate degrees expressed fear of losing their jobs to A.I. In comparison, 55% of non-graduate degree respondents reported the same fear, according to a survey by chatbot developer Tidio. 

Experts warn against doomsday predictions, however, some predict that the permeation of A.I. will more likely shift how work is done and create new jobs altogether rather than put people out of work. They also put the onus of training employees for the future A.I.-driven workforce on managers. Here’s an excerpt from McGlauflin’s piece:

“While A.I. certainly stands to disrupt the workforce, an occurrence employers worldwide have been bracing for the last decade, some experts disagree that automation will lead to job obsolescence. ‘What we consistently see at the moment is some task replacement and jobs that substantially evolve,’ says Julia Dhar, director and managing partner at Boston Consulting Group, who leads BeSmart, the firm’s behavioral economics and insights initiative. ‘But instead of a complete replacement, you’re seeing a shift in the way labor supply and demand is fulfilled, and so you actually can end up with shortfalls in really key skills and in-demand occupations.’”

Read the full story here.

Amber Burton

Reporter's Notebook

The most compelling data, quotes, and insights from the field.

Last week, I spoke to ServiceNow’s Jacqui Canney about how the current economic outlook has influenced her talent strategy. 

“You need a great hiring strategy, but it starts with the business strategy and what the business is driving for its goals. At ServiceNow, it's intimately knowing the product, sales, and engineering plans. So it's important for my team to deeply know the outcomes and goals, and then construct a talent strategy that follows that up to make sure we can deliver on revenue projections, sales projections, and whatever product innovation there is.”

Around the Table

A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.

- General Motors plans to lay off about 500 employees. Wall Street Journal

- Delta pilots agreed to a new union contract that would give them 34% raises. New York Times

- Peleton hired a former Twitter executive as its new chief people officer. CNBC

- The gender pay gap has remained almost the same in the past 20 years. CNN


Everything you need to know from Fortune.

Musk school of management. Elon Musk’s approach to management has been highly criticized, but some CEOs are asking if they need to take a page out of his book. “Every CEO in Silicon Valley has looked at what Elon Musk has done and has asked themselves, ‘Do they need to unleash their own Elon within them?'” said Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff. —Orianna Rosa Royle

David and Goliath. A small group of Amazon employees supports CEO Andy Jassy’s return-to-office plans, countering widespread frustration about the policy. —Chloe Berger

The future lies in A.I. German media company Axel Springer plans to start using A.I. to create some of its content and will undergo “significant” job cuts as a result, according to a memo from its CEO. —Will Daniel

Red-flag language. Prospective employees are turned off by job postings with “red-flag language,” like “must handle stress,” “able to work under pressure,” and “fast-paced environment.” —Orianna Rosa Royle

This is the web version of CHRO Daily, a newsletter focusing on helping HR executives navigate the needs of the workplace. Today’s edition was curated by Paolo Confino. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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