Economist urges AI task force members to consider impact on high-paying jobs

Economist Scott HodekA state economist is urging members of the Governor’s Task Force on Workforce and Artificial Intelligence to consider how the technology will disrupt high-paying jobs.

Department of Workforce Development Economist Scott Hodek spoke yesterday during an online meeting of the task force’s subcommittee on industries, occupations and skills. He said AI is expected to impact occupations across the income scale in Wisconsin, including those that have relatively high pay such as software developers and research analysts.

By comparison, the impact of automation — another disruptive technology — has been more focused on low-income workers like cashiers, he said.

“If it does end up replacing some of those higher-income occupations like engineers, that actually will have a pretty big impact … That’s something that this committee and all of us will probably have to keep in mind,” he said.

While the level of “exposure” to potential AI disruption is higher in certain fields such as computer science and mathematics, that doesn’t mean all of those jobs will be replaced entirely, Hodek noted. In many cases, the technology is expected to play a larger role in assisting and supporting human expertise rather than rendering it obsolete.

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