AI: The Ugly Side of Increased Efficiency in Today’s Economy

A new series of articles on Slate ( discusses the probability and results of artificial intelligence in a North American workforce.

Farhood Manjo looks at how “middle skilled” jobs (secretarial, administrative, etc.) will become obsolete sooner than we know, as AI becomes more sophisticated in collecting and categorizing data.

Jobs that require less skill will eventually face the same modernization, but at this point it’s relatively inexpensive to pay those employees.

The “high skilled” jobs requiring extensive education and specialization don’t seem to be safe from this inevitable process, either, but it’s only those that make their money performing fairly routine tasks that have cause for concern. What employer isn’t looking for workers who don’t complain, require no breaks or vacation time, and are quick and efficient at what they do?

The next thing to consider is whether such a rapid increase in efficiency will be positive for economic growth, according to the conventional wisdom, or cause an overall decline. The answer may not be what it seems.

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