Less than a quarter of firms introducing AI technology over the past five years believe it has led to a net loss of jobs, according to a new survey led by academics at the University of Warwick and the University of Sussex.
A similar proportion of firms told the survey that the recent introduction of AI technology had actually led to more jobs being created while more than half of participating companies said that new AI tech had had no net impact on job numbers.
The study, based on a survey of 750 AI-enabled businesses, did find the introduction of AI technology to be more disruptive to job numbers than the introduction of other non-AI based technology, but even more likely to be a job creator than other technology as well.
Compared to the introduction of other technology, the introduction of AI is 28.4 percentage points more likely to be associated with job creation and 26.6 percentage points more likely to be associated with job destruction, the study found.
“While we can’t say for sure how many jobs will be created or destroyed from the research, it is likely that the automation of some tasks may mean fewer people are needed to perform some jobs but that increased productivity may reduce costs stimulating sales and demand for workers overall,” said Dr Wil Hunt, Research Fellow at Institute for Employment Research,
University of Warwick
“This of course is likely to depend upon the specific AI-technology used and what employers hope to achieve by using it.”
The research authors point out that studies to date tend to be flawed because they are based on what might happen in organisations introducing AI or what happens in organisations introducing technology more broadly. Alternatively, they ignore the economic, social and cultural factors that influence a firm’s new technology adoption rates.
By contrast, the new study explicitly reveals what is happening within organisations that have adopted AI-enabled technologies specifically and allows employers to give a clearer picture about what is happening within a company.