Goldman Sachs bank research this past week published a report that 300,000,000 jobs worldwide will be impacted by the now accelerating introduction of Artificial Intelligence software (machines) that will either eliminate or sharply reduce the hours of work for workers involved in simple decision-making tasks like customer service reps, paralegals, receptionists, retail services, human resources reps, copywriters, basic software coders, and countless other occupations. Its report updates that of five years ago by McKinsey Consultants that estimated 5 million jobs impacted.
Academics hail the news that it will mean a sharp increase in productivity (and therefore profits which they don’t say). But this comes at the expense of destroying jobs and lowering wages. Jobs that might be created by AI will be mostly highly skilled software jobs, many of which the multinational tech and other corporations will import from their foreign subsidiaries via H1-B and L-1 visas from the US government.
Few jobs and greater productivity also mean more intensive exploitation from those workers who will still have work. AI is the latest restructuring of capitalist labor markets in the past five decades that witnessed greater exploitation of labor as a result of the expansion of ‘precarious’ work (involuntary part time and temp jobs) and gig work. AI represents the ‘third wave’ of intensification of the exploitation of labor.
The topic for discussion: what is AI, how it works, and what are the consequences of its adoption for the working class.
Our speaker is Dr. Jack Rasmus, Ph.D Political Economy, teaches economics at St. Mary’s College in California. He is the author of The Scourge of Neoliberalism: US Economic Policy From Reagan to Bush, Clarity Press, October 2019; Alexander Hamilton & The Origins of the Fed, Lexington books, March 2019; Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression, Clarity Press, August 2018; Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges, Clarity Press, Sept. 2016; Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy, Clarity Press, January 2016; ‘Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few‘, Pluto Press, 2012, ‘Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression‘, Pluto Press, 2010, and ‘The War at Home: The Corporate Offensive from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush‘, Kyklosproductions, 2006. Jack is the host of the weekly radio show, Alternative Visions, on the Progressive Radio Network, and a journalist writing on economic, political and labor issues for various magazines, including European Financial Review, World Financial Review, World Review of Political Economy, ‘Z‘ magazine, and others. Before his current roles as author, journalist and radio host, Jack was an economist and market analyst for several global companies for 18 years and, for more than a decade, a local union president, vice-president, contract negotiator, and organizer for several labor unions, including the UAW, CWA, SEIU, and HERE. Jack’s website is www.jackrasmus.com