PwC Says AI Will Create More Jobs Than It Destroys

The common knock against artificial intelligence is that it will destroy more jobs than create for humans to perform.  Excluding the fear of many that robots with advanced AI will one day rise and take over the world, a recent article suggests that those in the U.K. who believe more jobs will be destroyed than creating are mistaken.  According to PwC, research suggests that artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it would destroy.


Dispelling a Lingering Fear

Anyone who reads, or watches science fiction have seen many examples of how artificial intelligence will grow to a point where it would no longer serve mankind but strive to destroy it.  While this may be science fantasy, many believe this could happen not only in the U.K. but throughout the world.  Adding to this belief was the late Stephen Hawking who in 2014 stated to the BBC that the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.

However, an article from writer Anmar Frangoul on the CNBC website recently stated that artificial intelligence and related technologies will produce more jobs within the U.K. as those over the next twenty years that are displaced, according to the audit firm PwC analysis that was published on Tuesday.  While the research predicts that artificial intelligence might displace roughly seven-million jobs in the country, 7.2 million jobs could also be created, which would be a modest result of roughly two-hundred-thousand jobs.

However, individual sectors that are impacted by AI can vary.  Within the social work and health sectors, PwC stated the number of individuals that are employed could go up to one million; manufacturing jobs could decrease by around twenty-five percent, which would run a net loss of close to seven-hundred-thousand positions.  PwC’s chief economist, John Hawksworth, in a press releases stated that major new technologies, from steam engines to computers, displace some existing jobs but also generate large productivity gains.  

He added that this reduces prices and increases real income and spending levels, which in turn creates demand for additional workers,” he added. “Our analysis suggests the same will be true of AI, robots and related technologies, but the distribution of jobs across sectors will shift considerably in the process.

Debating the Impact of AI on Society

Significant debate continues to go on over the subject of artificial intelligence and the potential impact it will have on society.  Stated earlier, the late Stephen Hawking had shared his view on this subject back in 2014, when he expressed full AI would possibly be the end of mankind. 


Others have expressed positive views of artificial intelligence reaching its full potential.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said back in May of last year that society was in something of a golden age and renaissance in reference to the subjects of AI and machine learning.

Bezos spoke to an audience at the Internet Association’s Annual Gala where he said we are now solving problems with machine learning and artificial intelligence that were … in the realm of science fiction for the last several decades.  And natural language understanding, machine vision problems, it really is an amazing renaissance. 

PwC looked at other sectors and stated that technical, professional and scientific services would notice a sixteen percent net increase, while education would observe a six percent increase.  Meanwhile, public administration and the transport and storage sectors would see an estimated decrease of twenty-two and eighteen percent, respectively.


PwC suggests that governments invest more in science, technology, engineering, art and design and mathematics (STEAM) skills while encouraging workers to adapt and update their aptitudes continually to complement machines; this was recommended to mitigate the effect of displacement caused by artificial intelligence.  PwC added that a safety net should be strengthened for those that find it difficult to fight change in technology.

The U.K. leader of AI at PwC, Euan Cameron, said that as our analysis shows, there will be winners and losers.  It’s likely that the fourth industrial revolution will favor those with strong digital skills, as well as capabilities like creativity and teamwork which machines find it harder to replicate.