As the advancement of technology continues to rise, so do concerns about automation soon taking our jobs.
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Recent data from McKinsey & Company projects that up to 800 million global workers could be replaced by robots by 2030. For the most part, the report found that blue collar jobs, such as machine operating and fast food preparing, are especially susceptible to disruption.
But a new study published by the Brookings Institution says that might not be the case. The report takes a closer look at jobs that are the most exposed to artificial intelligence (AI), a subset of automation where machines learn to use judgment and logic to complete tasks — and to what degree.
For the study, Stanford University doctoral candidate Michael Webb analyzed the overlap between more than 16,000 AI-related patents and more than 800 job descriptions and found that highly-educated, well-paid workers may be heavily affected by the spread of AI.
Workers who hold a bachelor’s degree, for example, would be exposed to AI over five times more than those with only a high school degree. That’s because AI is especially good at completing tasks that require planning, learning, reasoning, problem-solving and predicting — most of which are skills required for white collar jobs.
Other forms of automation, namely in robotics and software, are likely to impact the physical and routine work of traditionally blue-collar jobs. But Mark Munro, a senior fellow and policy director at Brookings and co-author of the report, said it’s important to note that exposure to AI isn’t necessarily good or bad.
“We make no claim that these involvements with AI implies displacement of work or a threat to the job,” Munro told CNBC Make It. “Really, what we’re mapping is occupations that will be deeply involved with AI, but we’re not mapping which jobs will be threatened.”
High-paying jobs will have some of the highest exposure to AI
According to Brookings, the jobs below face some of the highest exposure to AI in the near future:
- Chemical engineers (median salary: $104,910 per year)
- Political scientists (median salary: $117,570 per year)
- Nuclear technicians (median salary: $79,140 per year)
- Physicists (median salary: $120,950 per year)
- Occupational therapists (median salary: $84,270 per year)
- Gas plant operators (median salary: $83,020 per year)
- Administrative law judges, adjudicators and hearing officers (median salary: $94,790 per year)
Well-paid managers, supervisors and analysts may also be heavily impacted by AI. […]