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The first ripples of AI’s economic effects

Reproduced from LinkedIn; Chart: Axios Visuals

Early shudders of AI-driven automation are already palpable in the job market, with work that requires a human touch flourishing and routine jobs slipping away, according to data from LinkedIn.

Why it matters: With significant upheaval still years down the road, as we reported earlier this month, this is the time to prepare for the AI revolution, through retraining and perhaps more radical approaches to ensuring a livable income for the unemployed.

The details: To determine how demand has changed over the past five years, LinkedIn examined its trove of data on jobs and job-seekers, comparing hiring by profession with all its job postings.

  • The chart above shows the average annual change for the fastest-moving fields.

The outcome is as experts have long predicted. LinkedIn found that jobs requiring interpersonal skills (HR workers, recruiters, and real-estate agents) are growing, while jobs relying on skills that can be automated (administrative assistants, accountants, customer-service reps) are shrinking.

But, but, but: Not all the job shrinkage was due to automation. Journalists and editors — alas! — are on the out-and-out not because their jobs are being taken by robots (yet), but because the news business as a whole has not landed on a lucrative financial model in the internet age.

Among LinkedIn’s other findings:

  • People are showing off AI-related skills on their LinkedIn profiles: These skills jumped by 190% from 2015 to 2017.
  • They are concentrated in the U.S., China, and India, but crop up in smaller numbers in several European countries, plus Israel, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Brazil.

Go deeper: More great charts on LinkedIn's blog