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Artificial intelligence and work: “There will always be a human to decide”

What place will artificial intelligence (AI) take in our life in 2050? How will it change our relationship to work? Salima Benhamou, economist specializing in AI in the work, employment and skills department of France Strategy, an expert assessment and analysis organization, artificial intelligence could enrich our activities by freeing us from tedious and repetitive tasks.

What will be the impact of artificial intelligence on work by 2050?

SALIMA BENHAMOU. We know that artificial intelligence (AI) can accomplish simple tasks or those based on well-established rules. But there will always be a human to decide. By freeing us from tedious and repetitive work, AI can therefore revalorize work, enriching it with more interesting content. Especially for jobs that draw their strength from their social, human and creative activities.

For example ?

At the hospital, where working conditions are currently very degraded, one can imagine relieving the administrative staff so that they focus on taking care of patients. Everyone would benefit!

But there will also be job destruction…

First of all, the forecast of a massive destruction of jobs by AI is today a fantasy. Admittedly, if 90% of a trade consists in applying determined rules, such as accounting, the risk of automation is very high. This can concern many sectors: banking, transport, insurance, etc. The question of the time freed up by the machine remains fundamental. What are we going to do with it? Humans cannot stay focused eight hours a day on complex tasks, they must also rest with simpler things. If we only use this extra time to work on more complicated missions, it will be negative, and burn-outs may increase. It is therefore essential to rethink the organization of work in the future and the man / machine complementarity.

How can the organization of work evolve in the next thirty years?

In the future, if inequalities widen, we will be able to observe a generalization of “ultra-flexible temporary work”, on the model of the Uber platform, where each individual would be his own subcontracting company and would sell his workforce online, with very stiff competition. Conversely, we can see the development of a work organization which takes advantage of new technologies. These are called “learning organizations,” like the automaker Volvo, where employees participate in setting goals with the hierarchy, learn continuously, and use technology to improve their work. In fact, the future of employment will depend on the society we want to promote, much more than the arrival of AI.

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