AI could do 40% of the world's jobs in 15 years

One of the world's leading experts has predicted that 40% of the world's jobs could be displaced over the next 15 years, with drivers and hospitality workers with the highest risk

11Jan

In 15 years, 40% of the world's jobs could be done by AI-enabled machines, according to one of the world's leading experts in AI, Kai Fu Lee.

"AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue-collar work, but a lot of white-collar work," said Lee, a pioneer in AI and venture capitalist based in China. "Chauffeurs, truck drivers, anyone who does driving for a living – their jobs will be disrupted more in the 15–25-year time frame," he added.

He also believes that hospitality jobs that are "a bit more complex", such as chefs, waiters and shop workers, are set to be automated completely within 15 years.

However, the industry he predicts will see the biggest disruption due to AI will be education. Lee is currently financing companies installing AI systems in remote classrooms across China to bridge the gap between education standards in cities and rural areas. This includes systems being used to gauge student interest and intelligence by subject, systems which have the potential to identify geniuses.

"It can also create a student profile and know where the student got stuck so the teacher can personalize the areas in which the student needs help," Lee added.

He also predicted that the US will enjoy technological leadership in the field of AI, at least for the next five years.

Lee concluded that AI was going to have a bigger impact than electricity had when it was discovered in 1879. "I believe [AI] is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind," he stated.

However, despite fears of job displacement, the World Economic Forum recently predicted that AI and robotics will create 58 million more jobs than they will destroy and the real issue will be upskilling labor pools to keep up with technology. 

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