Economic Development

How AI Effects Jobs

July 27, 2023  • The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy

Artificial Intelligence presents both opportunities and implications for the workforce.

Media hype cycles imply that artificial intelligence (AI) is either going to solve all of humanity’s problems or destroy humanity itself. The more likely scenario is something in between—and a little less dramatic—but this emerging technology certainly has the potential to disrupt every aspect of modern life. And it may be most disruptive to the way we work. 

Recently, Aspen Digital hosted 21 experts from economics, technology, human resources, labor, and policy to discuss the labor implications and opportunities of AI. The conversation spoke to risks, both individual and systemic, but also found glimmers of hope on the horizon. Their insights are summarized in the recent piece, Working With AI.

What’s new:

Everything, potentially. Stephanie Bell, a senior research scientist at the Partnership on AI, notes that, though many problems from these new technologies are largely predictable—increased job intensity, lower amounts of discretion, and higher rates of injury as a result of speed—AI is presenting some unanticipated problems, as well. 

The risks for workers:

  • Declining job quality as a result of lower labor demand. 
  • Wage decreases, because automation may increase competition for jobs.
  • Poor design, in which technologies not designed with workers in mind lead to worker frustration (or exhaustion) and leave people with disabilities behind.
  • Worker disempowerment, as work is further broken down into tasks and gigs instead of reliable jobs. 
  • Loss of data rights, particularly due to a lack of regulation of who controls worker data.

The potential upside:

AI has the potential to improve productivity, job quality, and quality of life, if it’s harnessed appropriately—which is why conversations like these are important.

Further reading:

The expert insights include an incredible list of recommended resources contributed by the participants. This is the place to go for a deep dive on the subject. 

Read insights from AI and economics experts here.

Good Work in the Gig Economy: Building a Sustainable App-Based Economy

Gig work—shorthand for app-based, short-term work—is fully ingrained in American lives. Consumers have become used to having food and other essentials delivered rapidly to their homes, and thousands upon thousands of workers depend on gigs for income. Today’s most widely used apps present risks and challenges for the workers who use them, but as platform-based work has become established in the labor market, new models are emerging. 

On Tuesday, August 8 at 2pm ET, the Economic Opportunities Program will host a webinar, Good Work in the Gig Economy: Building a Sustainable App-Based Economy. The event, part of the Opportunity in America series, will explore how people are challenging the status quo of gig work and reimagining platform-based jobs to be good jobs that can sustain workers. Sign up to hear about alternative models of platform-based work including cooperatives and public options, about policies being introduced to improve gig workers’ lives, and about research showing what’s ahead.

Register here.

Aspen Latino Business Summit: Seizing the Next Economy

Latinos are key contributors to economic prosperity in the US, accounting for nearly 20% of the population and generating $2.8 trillion in gross domestic product. But if longstanding disparities were to be erased, Latinos could generate an additional $2.3 trillion. Achieving economic parity is a massive economic opportunity. 

This September 6 and 7, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program will host the third annual Aspen Latino Business Summit in Washington, DC, where panelists and participants will explore ways to accelerate inclusive growth. The Summit will examine innovative and successful efforts in growing Latino-owned businesses across crucial disciplines, and will include a series of interactive plenary sessions and invite-only working sessions—mixed with networking events—where participants will identify policies, practices, and systems needed to bolster business and wealth creation in Latino communities.

Session topics include:

  • Perspectives from Entrepreneurs
  • The Next Gen Sectors Powering Our Economy
  • Sustainability and the New Circular Economy
  • Innovative Financial Products 
  • Building Wealth Through Asset Ownership

The Summit is recognized as a top-tier platform connecting local leaders to national networks, federal policy makers, and influential investors—and the event, like its subject, is an opportunity not to be missed.

This piece was originally published in APIE’s newsletter ‘The Weekly Slice’. Click here to subscribe