AI-induced Changes in the Job Market: Construction and Trade Benefits while Legal and Finance at Risk

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The rapid advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) technology has heightened employees’ worries over automation and job displacement. With OpenAI’s launch of the ChatGPT, which is a generative AI capable of generating text and other content from user prompts, companies are quickly discovering new ways to utilize AI in their operations. According to a report from Goldman Sachs, about 300 million full-time jobs or 18% of work can be affected by AI. In a study conducted by OpenAI and the University of Pennsylvania, it was estimated that AI chatbot ChatGPT would affect roughly 80% of jobs in the US and white-collar roles may be particularly at risk.

The legal industry is regarded as one of the industries most exposed to AI automation. Manav Raj, assistant professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the study, cited the legal industry’s limited number of occupations already exposed to automation, such as legal assistants, as the primary cause. The Goldman Sachs report echoed the statement, additionally noting administrative office work as highly exposed. Banks, on the other hand, are already incorporating AI in their business operations.

Education and software publishing were mentioned in the study as sectors similarly exposed, being that AI chatbots excel in research and coding tasks. Conversely, occupations like trade, construction, and related workers are believed to face minimal influence, as these jobs usually require practical experience and manual labor.

OpenAI, the company responsible for the launch of ChatGPT, is a nonprofit research laboratory whose mission is to ensure that the benefits of AI accrue to the many. Founded in 2018 by Microsoft co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman and Elon Musk, OpenAI aims to promote the responsible development of AI through collaborations between social, business and government entities.

Manav Raj is the assistant professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the study which analyzed the influence AI chatbots may have on white-collar industries. His research focuses on the intersection of technology, digital platforms, and corporate and workforce transformations. Raj has consulted for multiple firms and is a venture capital investor in start-ups. He is also a board member at the digital rights organization, Social Responsibility of Technology.