New AI tools could “easily” lead to a four-day week
Many experts anticipate a significant shift in white-collar professions in the coming years due to ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools, which are only going to get better.
The new wave of AI-powered chatbots that have received a lot of attention in recent months can talk to people in a way that is impressively human-like, and they will soon be able to handle a lot of jobs in a variety of industries with ease.
Christopher Pissarides, a labor economist who won the Nobel Prize, said this week at a conference in Scotland that he thinks the AI revolution could lead to a shorter working week rather than the widespread layoffs that some people fear.
“I’m very optimistic that we could increase productivity,” Pissarides said in comments reported by Bloomberg. “We could increase our well-being generally from work and we could take off more [time for] leisure. We could move to a four-day week easily.”
Pissarides, a professor at the London School of Economics who is an authority on the effects of automation in the workplace, suggested that AI tools could alleviate human workers of routine tasks.
“They could take away lots of boring things that we do at work … and then leave only the interesting stuff to human beings,” he said.
Although many people currently working five days or more would welcome a four-day week, there are still many unknowns regarding such a change. For example, would those who worked fewer hours be paid less if the work week was cut shorter? And despite the possibility of a four-day workweek, would these companies gradually reduce the size of their workforce as AI takes on more responsibilities?
The remarks made by Pissarides come in response to a report from Goldman Sachs that suggests that the most recent AI technology could result in the loss of or alteration of as many as 300 million mostly white-collar jobs.
According to Goldman Sachs’ analysis, although AI is likely to affect a lot of jobs, many jobs would be helped rather than eliminated by technology. In addition, it claimed that the switch to AI would lead to the creation of new technology-related jobs and an increase in economic productivity as tasks would be completed more effectively.
“Although the impact of AI on the labor market is likely to be significant, most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and are thus more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI,” Goldman Sachs said.
In point of fact, even though we are aware that significant shifts are imminent, it is still too early to predict the extent to which the rapidly evolving technology will affect the workplace.