Over half of all jobs driving the US economy could be impacted by AI, new study finds

  • New study predicts that companies will rapidly adopt AI technology over the next decade.

  • More than half of all jobs will be significantly impacted and automated by AI.

  • The AI revolution will be a big boom for the US economy.

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, could inject as much as $1 trillion into the US economy over the next decade.

That's according to a study on the economic impacts of generative AI published on January 10 by tech solutions corporation Cognizant, in collaboration with Oxford Economics.

The study also found that over half of all jobs driving the US economy will be significantly impacted by AI, with a small percentage of workers losing their jobs and struggling to find new employment.

The study used a model to simulate three levels of AI business adoption — low, middle, and high — and how those rates could impact jobs and careers.

Companies will quickly adopt AI technology, impacting jobs

The model first examined how quickly businesses will adopt AI.

The authors described the 2023 level of AI usage as the "experimental phase," with 13% of companies already using the technology. This came just months after OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022.

However, that use is expected to grow quickly to 31% in the next four to eight years, depending on the level of aggression used in the model, and nearly 50% in 10 years.

Adoption rates are projected to slow after 10 years but will continue to grow for another 20 years as they approach 100% adoption under all three models.

The study's model also looked at 18,000 tasks that the researchers identified as drivers of the US economy, such as content generation, market analysis, image generation, reports, and emails. Then, they looked at the impact of generative AI on the about 1,000 jobs that use these tasks, like management, sales, design, media, and legal positions.

The model looked at the percentage of tasks that AI could automate for each job.

  • 90% of jobs will have at least 5% of their high-value tasks automated by AI.

  • 52% of jobs will have at least 25% of their high-value tasks affected by AI. About 8% of jobs were at this level in 2023.

The model showed that AI could lead to 9% of the US workforce losing their job in the next 10 years. What's more, about one out of every nine displaced workers — about 1% of the total US workforce — will struggle to find new work after being pushed out because the skills needed for their current jobs will not translate to an AI-dominated workforce.

Other studies have also projected large disruptions to the workforce, both in the US and worldwide.

Goldman Sachs report in March estimated that over 300 million jobs worldwide could be disrupted by AI. A report from McKinsey estimated at least 12 million Americans would be forced to find a new job by 2030.

AI will cause an economic boom

The surge in AI adoption by companies signifies a huge impact on the US economy, the study found.

US productivity is projected to grow by at least 1.7% and as much as 3.5% over the next decade due to AI. This growth translates to an increase in the US GDP by $477 billion to $1 trillion annually over the next decade.

Economic impact of generative AI.
The projected economic impact of generative AI on US GDP over the next 10 years.Oxford Economics and Cognizant

Adrian Cooper, the CEO of Oxford Economics, wrote about the rapid pace at which this technology could reshape the US economy.

"The research findings showcase just how quickly this technology might disrupt the trajectory of the US economy, offering invaluable insights for leaders to harness its potential and adapt swiftly," Cooper wrote when announcing the study.

AI's disruption will be different than other advances

The researchers noted that AI will impact the workforce differently than previous technological advancements.

Instead of replacing manual labor jobs and "process-centric knowledge work," like data entry, AI is expected to have a bigger effect on knowledge work, such as credit analysis, computer programming, web development, database administration, and graphic design.

According to the study, some of these careers have already seen 50% of their most important tasks replaced by AI, which could grow to 80% in 10 years.

This was echoed in a June report by McKinsey that found high earners could experience the biggest impact of generative AI automation.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

The ripple effect even extends to CEOs. The Cognizant and Oxford Economics study found that at least 25% of a CEO's tasks could be automated by AI, helping with things like reviewing reports, analyzing operations, conducting competitive assessments, and making strategic decisions.

The study's authors noted that this paradigm shift should not be considered all doom and gloom for workers. Rather, they noted that this is an opportunity for rethinking skills and training, marking a new phase of employee development and business strategy.

This is supported by a recent McKinsey study showing that AI is more likely to enhance jobs than replace them.

"As this technology becomes commonplace in the workforce, new employee skills will be in demand to support areas including business strategy and AI management," the Cognizant and Oxford Economics authors wrote. "Reskilling programs, once seen as a tactical add-on to an employee's career path, will become an essential part of the workday, with time allocated for training and education."

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