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AI & The Future of Work

Big data and advances in computing power have triggered a technological revolution that have enormous bearing on the workplace and the labor market. Machines and robots are improving their capacities rapidly through artificial intelligence (AI) and innovations in design and structure. But how this digital revolution will affect firms, workers and their livelihoods is yet to be better understood.

Headline-grabbing assessments of the future of work predict polarizations and an increasing number of individuals in good and bad jobs, while hollowing out the middle class. Trends since the 1970s confirm this specter of polarization in the USA and the UK, but so far not in continental European countries. However, while the future transformation will be profound, it may be relatively slow, leaving time for many workers to adapt to the changes in the demand for labor. There is an inherent difficulty for established companies to truly unleash the full potential of AI as their core strategy. It may now be time for management to think beyond the process of innovation, and also consider alternative budgeting approaches and capital structures to fuel the critical work surrounding AI.

Platforms that facilitate the exchange of goods and services are fostering an ever-growing gig economy, an employment concept in which people are paid for each specific short-term task. The most important challenge is to ensure that incomes are predictable and high enough to ensure a reasonable quality of life. However, too much regulation of freelance work could result in the curtailing or even demise of the gig economy.

While AI promises substantial advances in productivity, it should not threaten or violate human dignity. Accordingly, the legal and ethical challenges of free entrepreneurship and the need to gather vast amounts of data to develop AI are discussed in the final section of this report.

AI & the Future of Work

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