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News » Economists clash over AI’s impact on jobs

Economists clash over AI’s impact on jobs

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — In an opinion piece for The New York Times, Peter Coy delves into the heated debate among economists regarding the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on future employment

Highlighting Noah Smith’s optimistic outlook, Coy introduces readers to the concept of comparative advantage—a cornerstone of economic theory that Smith believes could safeguard human employment even as AI capabilities advance

“It’s very possible that regular humans will have plentiful, high-paying jobs in the age of A.I. dominance — often doing much the same kind of work that they’re doing right now,” Smith wrote on Substack.

Coy, however, balances Smith’s optimism with skepticism from other economic scholars. He cites the apprehensions of David Autor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Daron Acemoglu.

Drawing on historical analogies, such as the displacement of horses by automobiles, these economists warn of a potential scenario where human labor becomes economically unviable, notwithstanding the theory of comparative advantage.

“It’s likely that workers would eventually become ‘too expensive to employ’ — or would earn too little to cover their own costs of upkeep,” said Autor.

Pascual Restrepo of Boston University paints a more sobering picture, likening AI’s job takeover to “a rising tide that covers one rock at a time until eventually they’re all underwater.”

Coy’s piece encapsulates the multifaceted nature of this debate, leaving readers to ponder the implications of AI’s ascendancy on the workforce and the broader economy.

“The bright side? If the gains are shared widely (not a certainty), we’re talking about a future of unimaginable luxury for all,” he concluded.

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