AI boom will eliminate jobs, says Paul Krugman

AI boom will eliminate jobs, says Paul Krugman

The AI Boom and the Uncertain Future of White-Collar Jobs


Nobel-Prize winning economist Paul Krugman recently appeared as a guest on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast, where he shared his thoughts on the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the job market. According to Krugman, the AI boom poses a significant threat to white-collar jobs, and there may not be much that can be done to mitigate its effects.

Krugman believes that AI is “too pervasive and too diffuse” to warrant significant intervention from the government. Instead of targeting specific regions or social groups, the AI revolution is likely to affect white-collar jobs across the country. This poses a challenge when it comes to designing remedial policies to support displaced workers.

“I don’t think there’s much you can do about that aside from just trying to ban the technology altogether, which isn’t going to work,” Krugman stated. The widespread and complex nature of AI makes it difficult to predict its impact and implement effective measures to counter it.

One of Krugman’s arguments is that much of the work threatened by AI tools like ChatGPT is not rooted in creative or original thinking. He questions the extent to which paid work actually involves unique problem-solving and innovation. According to Krugman, a significant portion of white-collar jobs is more like “super-expanded autocorrect.” Therefore, the potential displacement of such jobs by AI could have far-reaching consequences.

Measuring the impact of technological innovation like AI on the economy is another challenge. Krugman criticizes the current methods used to evaluate technology, describing them as “godawful.” Usually, tangible metrics like increased capital stock are attributed to economic growth, while the intangible effects are attributed to technological advancements.

Krugman illustrates this by referring to the productivity increase of 1% per year between the mid-90s and early 2000s, often attributed to the internet and improved utilization of information technology. However, he suggests that part of this growth was also a result of companies adopting more commonplace technologies like barcodes for inventory management. This example highlights the difficulty in accurately measuring the impact of technology on productivity.

“It’s basically technology is the measure of what you can’t explain otherwise,” Krugman concludes. The true implications of AI, both positive and negative, are still uncertain and will only be revealed with time.

As AI continues to advance, it raises questions for individuals and businesses alike. Are some portions of your work already being replaced by AI? Alternatively, are you considering utilizing AI to automate certain tasks currently performed by employees? While it’s still early days for AI implementation, we want to hear from you. Share your experiences and thoughts with us at [email protected].

In conclusion, the AI boom has the potential to disrupt the job market, particularly affecting white-collar jobs. Paul Krugman believes that the widespread nature of AI makes it challenging for governments to find effective measures to support workers affected by automation. Moreover, he questions the extent to which white-collar jobs truly involve original thinking and creativity. Measuring the impact of AI on the economy is also complex, as current metrics often fail to capture the full picture. Ultimately, the future of AI and its consequences on jobs remain uncertain.