back to article OECD finds 27% of jobs are under threat from AI

An international policy think-tank has found 27 percent of jobs are in occupations under threat from AI and other forms of automation. Initial findings in research from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that while adoption of AI is still relatively low, rapid progress in the technology, falling …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Opportunities

    So, the call centres will de drones, the helldesk will be drones and the typing drones will become recursive drones. When we get this far, I'll get my drones to read your stuff, call your centres and hell the desk with good advice. Everything is then fed into a shredder and the mash-up will be my new billion dollar company.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    More bullshit AI.

    So AI will do all those jobs on the high st? Hairdressing, nails, bar work, waitering / waitressing, bar work, cleaning, serving behind the till.

    What about industry? 99% of the people I work with theirs jobs can't be done by AI.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: More bullshit AI.

      Please refrain from being a realist an stay with the program. We have received good money to write our story and are very sceptical of people who question our narrative.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: More bullshit AI.

        Warning: more unnecessary realism!

        If you look at history any new technology destroys old jobs, but it also creates new ones, usually far more. 90%+ of the population used to be needed just to feed us (modulo occasional famines), now it's ~1%. We don't have 89% of the population desperately wishing they could pull mangelwurzles to earn money.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: More bullshit AI.

          It becomes more fun when pulling mangelwurzles is the only employment going, so the farmer with his AI farm rakes in the money , and the other 90% who used to pull mangelwurzles.. well they're out of a job, not being paid and cant afford to buy the AI produced mangelwurzles.

          Shortly after they start starving, the farmer finds his feet gently swinging in the air while hes surrounded by burning AI machinery.

          unless he's automated the security too....hence icon

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: More bullshit AI.

        ANd don't forget we're being paid to hype a piece of vapourware. AI does not yet exist - its ML.

    2. HereIAmJH

      Re: More bullshit AI.

      Call centers will be first. Many already work from scripts, so the AI just needs to mimic a human and follow the same scripts. A more human chatbot.

      Then will come system administration. And there has been work for decades to replace programmers. 4GLs and CASE tools. Eventually they will make it work.

      If you want to stay in IT, either learn to build custom AI solutions or rack and stack servers. (scratch that, they'll just create robots to maintain the lights out datacenters)

      Many physical jobs might be safe, though not as safe at you think. Robots can already mix drinks, wait staff could be (can be/have been) replaced with automation, I hear there is this iRobot thing that can vacuum and mop floors, and I use self checkout about 80% of the time now.

      Industry? Have you been in a manufacturing plant lately?

      The question is speed of implementation and balance. If AI takes over jobs too quickly then rather than leading to improved working conditions it will mostly lead to high unemployment and poverty. The people who will benefit most from AI are those with capital. And the other 95% will be fighting for the jobs that require extreme specialization or are just not profitable enough for large, up front investment. The only saving grace for the average worker is we serve a dual purpose; labor and consumer. So you have to keep the proles working to buy your products.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: More bullshit AI.

        And there has been work for decades to replace programmers. 4GLs and CASE tools. Eventually they will make it work. Sure, they will. It will be right after successful, repeatable cold fusion.

        The problems with Gen+n more-automated programming systems are:

        (1) while they let newbies (and pros) do lots of neat things, they quickly run out of road when it comes to constraints and edge cases -- in other words, the "harder" things. Then you need the pros who understand what's happening under the hood to fix things, or to kluge things into working beyond the limits of the automated programming system, and,

        (2) the automated programming systems do not, and can not, convey understanding to the user of that system, so you get the GIGO symptom.

        In an industrial setting, I have seen plans produced by some unknown-to-me automated system (4GL? Excel macros? VBA? all three?) which required the worker to cut a board 82 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 0 (zero) inches thick. I asked the worker if he got these often, and he replied, "Sometimes. Sometimesl you get ones with negative numbers -- I've had a few of those."

        ML (hyped as AI) will not solve these problems.

  3. OhForF' Silver badge

    AI or automatization?

    An international policy think-tank has found 27 percent of jobs are in occupations under threat from AI and other forms of automation.

    Do they see AI as a more efficient way of automation?

    In some cases this may work but especially for dangerous tasks and/or those that have an impact to physical safety it is probably better to use a more conservative approach where ways to design it to fail safe are better understood.

    1. HereIAmJH

      Re: AI or automatization?

      In some cases this may work but especially for dangerous tasks and/or those that have an impact to physical safety it is probably better to use a more conservative approach where ways to design it to fail safe are better understood.

      Yep, good thing we kept those elevator operators. Who knows how many people an automated elevator would kill.

  4. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

    argh

    Stop the hype train, I want to get off.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: argh

      Ts-k, ts-k, ts-k, too toot...

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: argh

      Wait until it slowed down enough.

  5. Howard Sway Silver badge

    in some areas, its output has become indistinguishable from that of humans

    Maybe this is true for the work of think-tanks, where people are paid by vested interests to dress up already common ideas as something new and original, and then push them as being from a "reputable source". Regurgitating other people's ideas is after all the only thing LLMs can actually do.

    But 30% of all jobs? Has anybody there actually ever done another job? There are very few others that involve nothing more than writing derivative bullshit.

    1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: in some areas, its output has become indistinguishable from that of humans

      -- Has anybody there actually ever done another job? --

      You almost got that question right

      Has anybody there actually ever done a job?

      ie a bit like most of the current crop of politicians.

  6. Tim 11

    if your job can be done by AI, it's probably not a real job

    For the past month or so I've been using both bing and google chat seach alongside standard google, but on the whole I'm using it less and less.

    If you ask a question where the answer is well known (has multiple sources on the net) and in the public domain, then it's probably better to ask a chat engine than do a standard web search, but for most of my searches I find it will just make up an answer that sounds feasible but is nonsense. I've had it describe in detail which menu options to click, or even spout out complete command lines, which were completely fabricated.

    Don't get me wrong, it's certainly possible that in the future, these engines might be capable of solving problems that haven't been solved before but at the moment they're only any good if you're trying to re-hash something that has been done many times before. And if that's what your job involves, you should probably question how much value you're adding.

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      ...it's a Bullshit Job

      > if that's what your job involves, you should probably question how much value you're adding.

      What you're alluding to is just one form of "bullshit job"- a term that's already been floating around for a decade or so- and it's safe to say that a huge percentage of jobs in the developed world are *already* work-for-the-sake-of-work affairs that really add nothing in the scale of things.

      So you've got a point, but that doesn't change the fact that you could equally apply it to lots of other jobs people are already doing.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Have they taken into account the new jobs that will be created firefighting the errors that the AI creates or is that what's meant by "less boring"?

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Very clever... but it's AI all the way down

      That won't create any new jobs, because they'll realise they can solve the mistakes using AI as well.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Very clever... but it's AI all the way down

        The title needs correcting:

        "OECD finds only 27% of jobs are under threat from AI" would be a lot more accurate in today's world.

    2. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

      "Have they taken into account the new jobs that will be created firefighting the errors that the AI creates"

      Maybe this accounts for the stat in the OECD report that "48% of employers in manufacturing respond to AI by hiring new workers"

      Only 14% said they respond to AI by "attrition or redundancies".

      Does this mean more jobs created than lost due to AI? Not necessarily as number of employers != number of jobs.

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I personally want to call bullsh&t on this. But it is making me think.

    What jobs use a lot of people?

    I cant see farming being reduced any further in the western world. AI might be able to help the farmer with planning and a few small things, but it's not going to replace them, or the pickers who harvest the fiddly crops (at least not until we have robots! And Robots with AI!!!). In the third world, I would suggest the reduction in workforce would come more from getting western levels of equipment, then anything AI can provide.

    Mining in the west already has a massively reduced workforce, and apart from some very limited cases (driving machines underground perhaps), I cant see AI reducing the workload there. Again, in the third world AI wont help anywhere near as much as western levels of equipment and procedures.

    In manufacturing, maybe AI could do somethings, but I mean that's so case specific. I work in Aerospace, we already use CNC machines, but you still need an operator to program the machines, put the material in, move the pieces between different machines, then when you come to assembly, there's no way an AI can do any of that sort of thing. As for the design side of things, every 10 years "Automated Design" in one form or another comes up as the new buzzword (Knowledge Based Engineering, Automated Design, AI Design)... It's never worked out beyond the simplest of simple things, because there is always individual requirements on every product that require a person to control the output (and usually rework a ton of stuff). I imagine it's no different on the tech side of things either.

    In the service and hospitality industries, you're still going to need a cook to prepare the food in the restaurant. You're still going to need waiters, and bar staff. Actually that's not true, with Sushi trains, and coin (or note) operated drink machines. But even though staff are the biggest expense in a restaurant, restaurants still employ them, why? Because people like talking to a person. A few restaurants or stores might embrace robotics, etc. but again that's not AI, and it certainly wont be the majority for a long time.

    So where could AI actually have a major effect? Advertising, Hollywood, Management? :P Would we notice if it took over those positions? Maybe it already has? ;)

    1. HereIAmJH

      I cant see farming being reduced any further in the western world.

      Farming will be reduced to feeding the equipment (seed, fertilizer, herbicides, and fuel) and repairing it.

      It's much less complicated to auto drive a tractor down a rural road and across fields than it is to navigate traffic with a car.

      There will still be small farmers doing it the old way. But just like now, most of them will have other jobs to supplement the farm.

  9. heyrick Silver badge

    Wanna take my job...?

    I wash up (industrial baking trays and such) for a living. I'd love to see AI replace my job, especially given that the non-smart automation that we do have frequently bothers the maintenance guys...

    Heat? Water? Steam? Funky chemicals? It's a harsh environment. I have exactly zero expectations that some AI gizmo will be any use at all, but here's the thing, will the AI be smart enough to know it's one power surge away from exploding, or will it merrily hallucinate as smoke pours out the back?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Wanna take my job...?

      I, like many here, have a tech job which involves AI. For the last few years I have been evolving the automation that does my own job, maybe 60% is done using conventional software and scripts, I get alerts when I’m actually needed.

      I’m delighted that I can now respond convincingly to communication using AI.

      Just got to figure out how to do the meetings.

    2. druck Silver badge

      Re: Wanna take my job...?

      I'd love to see AI replace my job

      No you wouldn't! You would have to find somewhere else to hide from IT,

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    They talk about think-tank jobs obvjously..

    The actual text should have been: "international policy think-tank has found 27 percent of their jobs are in occupations under threat from AI"

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