Breaking News: MIT Study Highlights Economic Barriers to AI Replacing Humans in Jobs

January 23, 2024

A recent investigation by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shed light on the impracticality of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replace humans in most jobs due to the current high costs associated with AI implementation.

Ai replacing humans
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Exploring the Economics

MIT researchers delved into the cost-effectiveness of AI across 1,000 visually assisted tasks spanning 800 occupations. The comprehensive study, titled “Beyond AI Exposure,” focused on evaluating tasks suitable for automation, specifically within the domain of computer vision.

Key Findings

The study highlighted that, given today’s expenses, businesses in the United States would generally opt against automating vision-related tasks falling under ‘AI Exposure.’ Only 23% of wages allocated for such vision tasks would be economically appealing for automation. Even with an annual cost reduction of 50%, it is projected that it will take until 2026 before half of the vision tasks become economically advantageous for machines.

Practical Implications of AI replacing humans

This research implies that the displacement of jobs by AI may progress at a slower pace than initially anticipated. The paper suggests, “The economics of AI can be made more attractive, either through decreases in the cost of deployments or by increasing the scale at which deployments are made, for example by rolling-out AI-as-a-service platforms, which we also explore.”

AI’s Current Limitations

While AI systems excel at analyzing images and discerning patterns, the technology’s associated installation and maintenance costs remain substantial. In many scenarios, the affordability of continuing to rely on human skills and intuition outweighs the costs of implementing AI. The study concludes that the impact of job loss due to AI in computer vision, even limited to vision tasks, is expected to be less immediate and more gradual, suggesting a slower pace of labor replacement in the market.

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