Fears of massive job losses due to the introduction of artificial intelligence seem to have been overblown according to a new study from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
About 14 per cent of jobs in OECD countries are ‘highly automatable’, the rich country think-tank concludes in one of the first significant pieces of research that examines the differences in the tasks being done by similar workers.
The research suggests far fewer jobs are at risk of disappearing than previous estimates from Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, two academics at the University of Oxford, which found that 47 per cent of US jobs were at risk from ‘computerisation’.
Rapid advances in artificial intelligence and robotics have led policymakers and economists to worry about the risk of widespread unemployment as machines displace workers.
But the research found that most jobs will be difficult to automate as they require the ability to effectively negotiate complex social relationships, creativity and complex reasoning or the ability to carry out physical tasks in an unstructured work environment, all of which are much harder for machines to do.
While previous research has also examined these barriers to automation, the OECD uses new data which accounts for differences between workers with the same job title.