Following up on its own look at AI’s economic potential — an annual range it estimated as somewhere between $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion — McKinsey recently put focus on the impact AI looks to make on labor with its report, “Generative AI and the Future of Work in America.”
According to its forecasts, more than a quarter of all human-hours could be automated by the end of this decade.
“Without generative AI, we estimate that automation could take over tasks accounting for 21.5 percent of the hours currently worked in the US economy by 2030,” the report says. “With it, that share jumps to 29.5 percent. This includes a significant increase in tasks involving expertise, interactions with people, and even creativity. Tasks requiring physical work, by contrast, are expected to be less affected.”
The report acknowledges many of generative AI’s uses that, even in their early stages, are being used on their own or with “humans in the loop.” Additionally, the report makes the distinction that automation adoption is “not the same as eliminating jobs.”
“Many jobs with some automatable tasks will remain, but the day-to-day nature of what people do and how they do it changes,” the report says. “In fact, employment demand should continue to rise in many occupations most exposed to generative AI, although perhaps at a slower rate. Generative AI and other automation technologies could help the United States reignite its flagging productivity growth, partially compensating for declining employment growth as the population ages. Capturing that effect means that workers would have to use these technologies properly and effectively.”