AI-powered work: Efficiency gains and human skills erosion

February 26, 2024

A recent study released in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems suggests that advanced computer systems are helping companies do more of their thinking and knowledge-related tasks automatically. Although this AI-powered work offers “higher efficiency and lower costs,” it impacts human skills development. 

“Cognitive automation exacerbates the erosion of human skill and expertise in automated tasks.” However, companies that accept the erosion of these mundane tasks will “reap the benefits of technology.” 

But is the erosion of “essential human expertise” problematic? The study suggests that it is, especially when workers remain accountable for tasks for which they “lack sufficient understanding, rendering them incapable of responding if the automation fails.”

AI is still in the early childhood phase

A study released this month by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that most US workers (7/10) say they are very or somewhat concerned about employers using artificial intelligence. About three in 10 workers are believed to fear AI would eliminate their jobs. 

The study was conducted on more than a thousand adults, including over 700 workers.

According to Carl Van Horn, professor of public policy, it’s a give and take. “As with other major technological changes, generative AI will create opportunities for some and heartbreak for others.” This could harm some sectors, as graduates with at least one formal education degree want safeguards to protect them from unemployment.

Just last month, at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman even warned that AI is a  “clearly very powerful” technology that could easily have “massive effects on the world.” He admits it could be for the world’s betterment, but “it could go very wrong.” 

He warns that it’s essential to make space for debates around how to make AI safe. 

Locate2u 2/26/24

Recent Posts

Kelly O’Brien (MCRP ’09) Named Fairfax City Hometown Hero

On July 15th, Kelly O'Brien (MCRP '09)  was recognized as a Hometown Hero during Fox 5 DC's Zip Trip visit to Fairfax City. "Although I don't think of myself as a hero, I am grateful for the chance to express my dedication to serving my community and shed light on the...

Winecoff: Working Paper on Health Insurance Enrollment

Spillovers in Public Benefit Enrollment: How does Expanding Public Health Insurance for Working-Age Adults affect Future Health Insurance Choices? Abstract Enrollment in one public benefit program often affects enrollment in others. We study life-course spillovers by...

$21.1 million Awarded for the Safe Routes to School Program

The Murphy Administration announced $21.1 million for 23 grants under the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program on July 10, 2024. The New Jersey Safe Routes to School Program, supported by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, is a statewide initiative with a...

Deanna Moran Named MA Chief Coastal Resilience Officer

Deanna Moran, AICP (MPP/MCRP '16) was named the Chief Coastal Resilience Officer by the Healey-Driscoll Administration to address climate change impacts along Massachusetts’ coastline. Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper announced Deanna...

Voorhees Transportation Center seeks new Executive Director

The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) seeks a new Executive Director who will oversee the center’s research program, technical services and other initiatives, including external relations, communications, business development, and fundraising. The Executive...

Upcoming Events

Event Series CAREERS

Virtual Career Drop-ins


Stop by virtually on Mondays (except for holidays) beginning September 9th through December 16th between 11 am and 1 pm to ask a quick (15 min) career-related question of Bloustein […]