AI skills and knowledge can increase an employee’s salary by as much as 40%, reveals a new study from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), suggesting how this powerful technology will likely impact workers of the future.
The research, which polled 25,000 workers and over 1000 skills, found that understanding AI-based topics such as machine learning and data science significantly increased the salaries of employees with this niche expertise.
Describing the study’s findings, the paper’s co-author Dr Fabian Stephany told Verdict that contrary to belief, it doesn’t look like AI is out to replace human jobs: “This (study) is one piece of evidence that suggests AI will not replace people on a massive scale, but it will actually be very profitable for people to work with AI. Right now, we don’t see any indication that AI will lead to half of the labour force being automated away.”
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Despite this, the speed at which AI is being used in the workplace might soon outpace the knowledge and skills understood by a workforce with current skills that might soon be made redundant.
An AI skills gap
AI has been an important part of technology for a long time. But with the emergence of Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, which serve as user-friendly tech open to the general public, academics are starting to theorise the impact this technology could have on businesses, employees and the economy in the long-term.
OII’s study highlights the growing need to reskill and upskill workers with AI-related tools and knowledge more than ever – perhaps companies aren’t doing this at the pace that is necessary. This is understandable, however, as many firms are at a loss when it comes to knowing where to begin with skills development in the face of such catalysmic change.
The AI Safety Summit and pact
The need for reskilling has been at forefront of leading minds at the world’s first AI Safety Summit, held in the UK.
The summit, which took place on the 1 and 2 of November, saw leaders from 28 countries sign a pact, The Bletchley Declaration on AI Safety, to curb the potential negative consequences of ‘frontier AI models’, which pose a risk associated with misuse and loss of control over the technology.
During the event, billionaire and X (formerly known as Twitter) CEO Elon Musk warned of the dangers of AI, calling it “one of the biggest threats to humanity”.
In contrast, former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg described the government’s caution over AI as an “overreaction”, comparing this “moral panic” to worry seen in the 1980s over the emergence of video games.
Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball to see the future consequences of this very powerful technology. However, one thing is for certain. In light of this month’s summit, the government must do more to support businesses in upskilling UK workers in-line with technological developments.