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Generative AI Could Heavily Impact Workers With Higher Education

The possible generative AI effect on workforce has caused various professionals to be worried about their job security in the future. While artists, writers, and other content creators are often highlighted as the groups with the most to lose, latest research suggests that highly educated experts may also feel the brunt of generative AI. 

According to a study conducted by consulting giant McKinsey, generative AI could disproportionately impact professionals that belong to the higher income bracket. This includes those with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees who are considered experts in their respective fields.

What is the Generative AI Effect on Workforce With Higher Income?

Traditionally, automation largely affects those workers who fall between the low and high income brackets. There are multiple reasons for that.

Firstly, it is because low-income jobs are mostly attributed to physical labor that cannot be easily manipulated through machines. Besides, because these jobs are attributed with a lower spend for the employer, replacing them with expensive automation technologies is not viable for cost saving.

Secondly, higher income jobs are mostly associated with knowledge-workers who hold a deep expertise of their specific subject. Previous means of automation could not replicate specialized knowledge, which saved them from its effects. But with generative AI that fetches information about different branches of expertise to replicate it in its own words, these experts are a direct target of the generative AI effect on workforce.

Generative AI Could Disproportionately Automate Tasks Performed By Knowledge Workers

Knowledge workers with higher education typically have specialized expertise to share, which provides them with the opportunity to land higher-income jobs. But with generative AI, the tasks performed by these individuals could be automated to a significant degree. 

The McKinsey research outlined that professionals with a master’s or higher degree could see around 57 percent of their tasks automated through generative AI. On the other hand, those with a bachelor’s degree could see 60 percent of their tasks automated by the technology. 

Workforce With Lower Education Levels is Not Safe Either

The generative AI effect on workforce might seem worse for those with a higher education. But it does not spare those with lower education levels either. For instance, those with an associate’s degree could see 62 percent of their tasks automated with generative AI, while those with some level of college education or a high school diploma could see this figure rise to 64 percent. 

For those who have no high school degree, generative AI automation does not paint a prettier picture than their counterparts with higher education. The rate of task automation for this group stands at 63 percent. 

How Will This Affect the Pursuit of Knowledge?

Traditionally, holding a specialized degree with multiple years of education outlines your expertise over a certain subject. But when generative AI could automate the tasks that you can perform with extensive education, you may also need to back your resume with additional factors that gauges the level of your skill. 

Generative AI is still in development, but the day when it takes over as a widespread automation tool is not far off. According to the study, when it comes to natural-language understanding, AI may achieve median human performance by the end of 2023. This calls for professionals from all skill and income levels to keep an eye on this life-changing technology and how it can transform their careers forever. 

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