back to article Investment bank forecasts LLMs could put 300 million jobs at risk

Research from global investment bank Goldman Sachs claims that as many as 300 million jobs could be at risk from automation powered by generative AI. The tech industry has seen burgeoning releases based on large language models, from the likes of Google and OpenAI, in partnership with Microsoft. Impressively aping human …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Research from global investment bank

    Does that automatically mean it's wrong, or just self-serving ?

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: Research from global investment bank

      Or both

  2. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Wouldn't it be nice

    if LLMs did away with companies like Goldman Sachs. It's a fairly simple bit of AI: buy it cheap, sell it high. Then we humble serfs can watch the masters of the universe join the great unwashed masses.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Wouldn't it be nice

      buy it cheap, sell it high

      That's basic arbitrage, anybody can do it(*). Where Goldman Sachs (aka the Vampire Squid) and their ilk make money is by holding the hands of management when they are trying to make hard/expensive decisions so that if it all fucks up the CEOs have someone else to blame. For this they get paid stupid amounts.

      (*) Like many things, anybody can do it, few can do it well.

  3. Chris Miller

    There's no timescale given for this (put me down for the 12th of Never), but in a healthy, advanced economy ~10% of workers will change jobs every year (either voluntarily or not). So while 300 million sounds a lot, it ain't all that.

  4. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    The New New Thing

    This sounds like an update of an old line: "Buy hammers! Hammers are the latest thing! They're the universal tool! They can be used for anything!"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they revel in it

    what always gets me about these "MILLIONS OF JOBS WILL BE WIPED OUT!!!"

    is not only the revelling in it that Bankers and Consultancies seem to do, too stupid to realise that they are themselves being automated out of their jobs, but also...when all these jobs have gone...when all that remains is AI and billionaire shareholders....whose ACTUALLY going to buy anything?

    I mean what would happen if everyone in the World just turned around and said, we're not going ot buy anything but flights, no money in the banks, no cars, no computers, nothing....what would these fools do?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: they revel in it

      Well, since the job losses they expect are not going to happen, I'm not sure it's worth worrying about. They just assume that something will follow the trend of another thing despite the fact that they don't understand either of the things involved. However, let's take your hypothetical and run with it anyway.

      "I mean what would happen if everyone in the World just turned around and said, we're not going ot buy anything but flights, no money in the banks, no cars, no computers, nothing....what would these fools [investment bankers, presumably] do?"

      That's not going to happen either. It's almost definitionally impossible. So everyone decides not to buy anything. The premise already holds that none of us have jobs, so I'm not sure how we would be paying for the things if we bought them, but fortunately, we're not buying them so this isn't a problem. It will soon be a problem when we can't do any of the things that require these objects. Old computers are fine for a while, but eventually they break and if we're refusing to buy things, we can't buy replacement parts. Getting everyone to agree to live a spartan (as in ascetic) life to stick it to some annoying fictional bankers is not very palatable to the general public. Should it happen, I'd put money on the actual response being screaming and minor violence (hopefully not to the level of the other Spartan).

      But if we all agree to live our ascetic lives of eating and basically nothing else, then the people with all the money can do whatever they want. They own the places that make food and they own the companies that own the real estate in which we live, so they have a source of any money we pay for those things. Since we're not buying anything else, they can have their pick of any item we didn't ask for. Basically, if your theory happened, it would create a perfect world for any materialist with money out there.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: they revel in it

        I think you missed how extensive that would be. If NOBODY is working, then those who own the houses get nothing. Evict? The billionaires would have to personally go house to house to do that. Nobody is working, which includes banks, cops, ect. Even if there is still a police force, it won't take too many failed eviction attemts before the cops stop, because there aren't that many cops and they won't survive. Food? Anyone can grow or find enough to get by. Those that can't won't last long.


        The problem that will be is when everyone has money, money has an agreed upon value and it circulates. But when only a very few people have money, and 99 percent have no jobs and no way to make money, money loses its value. At some point, a billionaire will starve because he'll have billions of sheets of terlet paper and nobody will give him food even for a bale of it. For money to have value, everyone must have some.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Among candidates for new jobs could be workers employed to catch criminals who use LLMs

    It's not a great selling point that this new tech could enable so much criminality that a major expansion in the number of police officers will be needed because of it. Especially as it won't be Microsoft or Google paying for those police officers.

    However, the whole tone of the report trying to ride a wave of hype reads exactly like the reports that the likes of Gartner published last year about how the Metaverse was going to be similarly game changing. I mean, how's everybody enjoying watching their avatars in their new NFT costumes on their 3D headsets right now?

  7. DS999 Silver badge

    If I can have ChatGPT attend meetings for me

    And provide me a few paragraph summary of the highlights and action items that apply to me, then it would really help my productivity!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: If I can have ChatGPT attend meetings for me

      Great idea. All meetings on Zoom, with a deepfake avatar and real time sentiment analysis deciding whether it should nod or frown. Meanwhile, you get to do useful work rather than stroking some middle manager's ego.

  8. Long John Silver

    If true, why gloom?

    If technology can release people from drudgery, including that of banking, why bemoan it? For more than a century, perhaps even back to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, there were farsighted people who recognised automation as a boon for humanity if organised properly.

    The caveat above, leads to explanation of why in the prevailing mindset regarding organising an economy and the role of labour, it must fail. Automation, each of the physical and intellectual variety, means redundancy; concomitant factors of worklessness include much reduced, perhaps to subsistence level or below, income, and psychological impact engendered by perception of lack of worth in one's own eyes, in those of others too; few people regard being made redundant as presaging opportunity.

    The Protestant work ethic has inveigled itself into Western thought.

    Turned around, worklessness in the sense of no longer toiling, generally for others, can be positive for the individual and for everyone else about him. Examples of opportunities arising include time with family, support for ailing kinsfolk, engagement with the local community, intellectual and cultural self-advancement, attaining skills not tied to toil, and freedom to stretch creative 'muscle'.

    The possibilities represent the converse of 'opportunity cost' arising from obligation to toil.

    Yet, this freedom presupposes entitlement to a share of the 'wealth' created by the society in which one is embedded. The so-called wealth creators are dependent upon the interconnected society in which they dwell; for instance, physical infrastructure and social infrastructure, such as law and institutions promoting civil society.

    Some will laze or become hedonistic. Why not, what does it matter if they don't harm others? A proportion will realise creative (including adventurous) urges, some of these of lasting cultural value. Others might set up enterprises (traditional or co-operative) to fill gaps in production and servicing of physical goods, or to aid other people in applying their creative abilities, e.g. via the Internet.

    Pie in the sky? No, there is inadequate understanding by people in general of how potential for talent is distributed among the population. It exists in our common gene pool. Advantageous and serendipitous genetic combinations arise from all sectors of the population; assortative mating might concentrate these a little in some sections of society, but overall this has a negligible diminishing effect upon the remaining untapped possibilities.

    Universal entitlement to a share of natural resources and what is manufactured from them is the only ethical means of coping with automation; it is productive: not charitable; the alternative being culls.

    Universal basic income (UBI) awaits in the wings.

    [Released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international licence.]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If true, why gloom?

      because human nature and the "scum rise to the top" rule always kicks in.

      so if lets say a few billion people are released from the drudgery of office or factory life and can instead live on UBI and top up their income with personal projects etc; whats to stop the billionaire class saying "well if you don't work, you don't vote". You already have Peter Theil complaining that giving women the vote was bad because democratic capitalism doesn't work & women are less likely to be free market libertarians.

      You can guarantee that THEY won't pay the taxes necessary for a comfortable and liveable UBI.

      Already work DOESN'T pay. I'm getting recruiters trying to get me to go permanent for money that I Would have spat at in 2008 for jobs more senior than the one I was working in 2008. Image what would happen to people on UBI.

      You'd need STRONG Government with HEAVY tax laws that the firms wouldn't be able to escape

  9. Terafirma-NZ

    Do bankers know how money works

    So it's going to put 300m people out of work meaning they spend less and then create 7 trillion $ of cash out of thin air.

    Do banks realise that growth in global GDP comes solely from governments printing more bank notes, you can't have growth without creating more $ money otherwise where is it coming from? A country can increase its GDP by simply taking GDP from another country but that's not global growth and just makes people in other places poorer.

    I've heard these statements every time some new tech comes around on how it's going to put people out of work, proves to be false every time.

    One thing is always true the bankers have no clue.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Do bankers know how money works

      I've heard these statements every time some new tech comes around on how it's going to put people out of work, proves to be false every time.

      Tell that to the Luddites.

  10. trevorde Silver badge

    Complete lack of credibility

    Until Gartner declares it as the 'Next Big Thing (tm)' and it appears in their hype cycle, we should ignore it. Remember, it was the bankers who got us into this mess in the first place, so what would they know anyway?

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Complete lack of credibility

      Wait until an LLM (?) does Gartner’s research for them - LOL.

  11. NeilPost Silver badge


    Define an LLM. The internet says it is something lawyery.

    You forgot to say.

  12. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    "Among candidates for new jobs could be police or security workers employed to catch criminals who use LLMs for various nefarious activities. "

    But, wouldn't it take a LLM to catch an LLM? So the only new job there would be taken by an LLM. Man I'm glad I'm nearly at the end of my race, life is getting way too complicated.

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