3. AI is coming for white-collar workers in big cities
While robots upend blue-collar factory work and trucking in the middle of the country, AI and machine learning are poised to hit white-collar jobs in superstar coastal cities.
Why it matters: No one is immune to the shockwave of automation in the workplace.
What's happening: A new analysis released Wednesday by Brookings overlaid the keywords in AI-related patents with job descriptions to get a more detailed understanding of which jobs are most likely to be affected by AI — and where they are.
Industries at risk: Carmakers and clothing makers are using AI for advanced manufacturing on production lines — that’s far more complex than the routine, task-oriented automation that most robots power.
- Digital services like software publishing and computer system design also show high exposure, along with agricultural work and professional services like purchasing.
Cities highly exposed to AI disruption are established or emerging tech hubs like San Jose, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Boulder and Huntsville.
- Also, agricultural centers like Madera and Salinas in California and logistics and advanced manufacturing hubs like Greenville (South Carolina), Detroit and Louisville are at risk.
The big picture: Much of the research assessing the workforce impact of these new technologies — robotics, AI and machine learning — lumps them all together under the bucket of automation.
- The dominant prediction has been that automation will most impact "routine" functions like factory-floor and cashier work.
But when looking specifically at AI — which has the ability to interpret voice commands, recognize images, and make predictions and decisions — professionals in careers such as radiology, law and marketing could find themselves with drastically diminished roles.
Between the lines: States like Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska may be hit from both ends of the spectrum. Blue-collar workers there could be displaced by robots while white-collar workers are hit by AI and machine learning.
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