Artificial intelligence (AI) has already begun to replace human jobs. About 4,000 people in the United States lost their jobs to the technology in May, a new report states.
The report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas states that US employers announced over 80,000 layoffs in May, representing a 20% increase from the over 66,000 announced in April.
Among these layoffs, AI was responsible for the loss of 3,900 jobs – about 5% of the total figure. This pushed AI to become the seventh-highest contributor to job losses in May. AI remains behind other job loss factors such as cost-cutting, financial loss, and voluntary severance/buyouts.
Why are employers embracing AI?
Employers are embracing AI because they are cheap. Organizations have begun using AI for creative work like writing, clerical work, and other administrative duties.
A recent Washington Post piece revealed how two experienced copywriters were left jobless thanks to ChatGPT. Olivia Lipkin lost her role in April without any explanation. She later found that managers had been discussing how much cheaper ChatGPT is than a human.
“Whenever people brought up ChatGPT, I felt insecure and anxious that it would replace me,” said Lipkin.
“Now I actually had proof that it was true, that those anxieties were warranted and now I was actually out of a job because of AI.”
Freelance copywriter Eric Fein had a similar experience. His copywriting business of 10 years disappeared overnight as his clients switched from human-written to AI copy. Fein now intends to pursue a new career as an HVAC technician.
“A trade is more future-proof,” Fein says.
AI is not smooth sailing
Some media companies, including CNET, have reportedly laid off reporters and employed AI to write articles. In the case of CNET the company soon came to regret its decision. The AI couldn’t do the job well. The reports it wrote contained misleading information and plagiarized content.
Another organization that replaced striking workers with a chatbot were forced to reconsider and deactivate the AI after it gave “harmful” dieting advice.
Despite the problems with AI Goldman Sachs predicts the technology could replace 300 million jobs globally. According to Goldman Sachs, this layoff will affect one-fourth of global employment, and mainly white-collar jobs. This job cut report follows another which stated that the AI industry could be worth more than $1 trillion within the next decade.
Meanwhile, the fear of AI prompted a recent strike among entertainment writers who demanded better pay and job security. Their demands also included a ban on using AI to write entertainment content.
Top jobs at risk of AI replacement
According to experts, AI should only be seen as a productivity enhancement tool, not a total human replacement. However, a recent Business Insider report has disclosed a list of the top 10 jobs most at risk of replacement by AI.
The report puts tech jobs (Coders, computer programmers, software engineers, data analysts) at the top, followed by media jobs (advertising, content creation, technical writing, journalism). The legal industry jobs (paralegals, legal assistants) and market research analysts sit at the third and fourth positions. Teachers, finance jobs (financial analysts, personal financial advisors), traders, graphics designers, accountants, and customer service agents are also at risk of being replaced.