CBS News

Is AI Coming for Your Job?

CBS News asked Blueprint Co-Director David Autor for his thoughts about the implications of AI proliferation. His response: the rise of AI does indeed mean millions of jobs are going to change in our lifetimes—and we’re not sure exactly how.

“We are very good at forecasting what we will not be doing and very poor at forecasting what we will be doing,” Autor said. He points out, for example, that more than 60% of the types of jobs people are doing today didn’t even exist in the 1940s, while many of the jobs that did exist have been replaced.

“What we’ve seen over the last four decades in the U.S. and many industrialized economies is what economists call labor market polarization, which means the hollowing out of the middle set of jobs … kind of middle class jobs involving blue collar production and operative work, but also … administrative support clerical tasks,” he said. “We had banks and banks of people who answered phones, who did typing and filing, who reproduced documents, who kept tables and books. Many, many of these things are now done by machines.”  The “hollowing out” of the middle has led to some in the labor market moving up and making more money, while others are now making less — and “that’s especially where the pain happens.”