Elon Musk Thinks AI Will Take Most Jobs — Why That Might Not Be A Bad Thing – Yahoo Finance

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a part of the workplace in many ways, from helping to write non-creative content, to automating some administrative tasks. While this is potentially helpful at streamlining busy work and making jobs more efficient, it also has people worried that AI is going to eventually replace workers in many industries and even take most jobs.

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SpaceX and Tesla CEO (or “Technoking” as he prefers to be called), Elon Musk, suggests this estimation of AI taking most jobs may not be wrong. But in his estimation, that’s not a bad thing. Musk, often considered a visionary (or a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, depending on who’s judging) predicts that, based on AI, most jobs will be phased out. But rather than that being a bad thing, he suggests that what will evolve in place of jobs is a “universal basic income,” which gives people an opportunity to live more comfortable lives as AI does the work we no longer need to.

The controversial executive is known for outlandish statements but his vision for his companies suggests that his belief is rooted in something optimistic.

Also, here are 10 jobs most endangered by AI.

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A Day When Jobs Are Gone?

At a newly launched AI Safety Summit in the U.K. in November, Musk told the group that he sees a time when AI may actually make our idea of traditional employment a thing of the past, but it will lead to an “age of abundance” through a system of “universal high income.”

While Musk didn’t have a timeline for when this will happen, saying he couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment in the future, he did predict, “You can have a job if you want to have a job or sort of personal satisfaction, but the AI will be able to do everything.”

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How Likely Is It That AI Will Take Jobs?

To step back a moment, how likely is AI to take jobs already? According to past reporting by GOBankingRates, which cites a McKinsey study, as much as 30% of work could be displaced by automation, under which category AI falls.

Even more significant, it’s possible that up to 50% of all work activities are “technically automatable” and that up to 60% of all occupations have more than 30% of activities that can be automated. If these jobs just disappeared, that’s potentially a lot of people out of work.

As GOBankingRates found, however, as some jobs and or tasks within jobs get taken over by AI, other new jobs and tasks may emerge that can’t be so easily automated. The McKinsey study showed that creative and communication-based jobs, such as artists, designers, entertainers and media jobs are actually likely to increase. However, so will the demand for technology professionals.

If your job involves administrative tasks and other mundane procedures, however, chances are high that AI will take them. GOBankingRates recently reported that the top jobs likely to be taken by AI include: accounting clerks, receptionists, IT support specialists, messengers and delivery workers, and customer service representatives, to name a few.

The Feasibility of Universal Basic Income

So how does universal basic income (UBI) play into this? UBI is a concept in which the government provides a set income amount for all of its citizens to afford their basic necessities. Some variations on this theme have already been tried with early positive results. Should Musk’s prediction prove true and governments see the benefits of UBI, is that a realistic model for the future?

The city of Denver recently gave over 800 residents deemed vulnerable for things like homelessness and mental illness up to $1,000 per month. Homelessness went down, employment went up and the participants reported better mental health.

Stockton, California also tried this by giving $500 per month to 125 participants. Initial results were good: the unemployment rate in that group also went down and mental health went up,  though the pandemic appears to have dampened that positive effect some. The University of Pennsylvania, which studied the Stockton program, reported that the program could have “profound positive impacts on local public health.”

Other such programs have also been formed in cities ranging from Baltimore to Columbia, South Carolina, Los Angeles to Gainesville, Florida.

Even the government’s support during the pandemic in the form of stimulus payments, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and other financial relief could be seen as potential evidence that government support can make life better for its citizens.

All that said, it’s unlikely that AI will take all jobs in most people’s lifetimes. More realistically AI will slowly chip away at the most automated of jobs, forcing people to reskill, become tech-savvy or learn to work with AI. While it’s nerve-wracking, it doesn’t need to be a case for alarm just yet.

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