ECB challenges prevailing narrative of AI causing widespread job loss


(MENAFN) In a research bulletin released on Tuesday, the European Central Bank (ECB) challenges the prevailing narrative of artificial intelligence (AI) causing widespread job loss, asserting that the adoption of AI and related technologies has, in fact, led to an increase in human jobs across 16 European countries. Titled "Reports of AI ending human labor may be greatly exaggerated," the paper aims to counter fears surrounding AI's potential to decimate the labor market by presenting data collected between 2011 and 2019.

According to the ECB's research, conducted during the deep learning boom of the 2010s, economic sectors more exposed to AI-enabled technologies experienced an expansion in their employment share in Europe. The paper acknowledges that the future implications of this pattern remain uncertain, stating that "the jury is still out" on whether this trend will persist.

The employment share increase was particularly notable in high-skilled positions, with younger workers benefiting the most. The research reveals that AI exposure was twice as likely to positively impact workers in the youngest third of the population.

However, the paper also addresses concerns raised by at least one study cited, indicating that individual employers within AI-exposed sectors reduced hiring for non-AI-related positions, impacting overall hiring trends. The effects on low- and medium-skilled jobs were less pronounced, with no clear evidence of software replacing routine-heavy positions. Previous studies referenced in the paper suggested that many of these jobs might have been lost to less advanced forms of automation in preceding years.

While two out of the three studies examined in the paper found no significant relationship between AI exposure and wages, the third study indicated "neutral to slightly negative impacts" on human earnings. Occupations most exposed to AI demonstrated worse wage growth compared to those insulated from the technology. This revelation raises questions about the complex interplay between AI adoption, job markets, and wage dynamics, challenging conventional wisdom about the impact of AI on employment.

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