While slow economic growth, inflation and continued anxiety over supply chains remain the most pressing threats to labor prospects, a recent report from the World Economic Forum names Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a top source of labor-market disruption over the next five years.
The Future of Jobs Report 2023, which was published on April 30, doesn’t take a “doom and gloom” stance toward AI, however, despite forecasting that new technologies could eliminate upwards of 26 million record-keeping and administrative jobs in the next half decade.
Instead, the WEF anticipates that as 75 percent of the more than 800 companies polled bring in new AI capabilities, the net impact will actually be positive, as new jobs in big data analytics, cybersecurity and business operations will spring up as a result.
So while clerical work may take a hit on the short term as AI supplants certain activities, new skills and ways of working will ultimately provide new job opportunities, researchers predict.
Accelerating the launch of cleantech globally
AI is also anticipated to be a driver of cleantech adoption and supply chain re-shoring, the study finds, which has been a key legislative priority in both the United States and Canada of late.
“Among the macrotrends listed, businesses predict the strongest net job-creation effect to be driven by investments that facilitate the green transition of businesses, the broader application of ESG standards and supply chains becoming more localized, albeit with job growth offset by partial job displacement in each case,” the report reads.
While the stats indicate that business leaders are still wrapping their heads around just how much ESG will drive innovation and new business ventures, the rate of change in the cleantech ecosystem is already rapid.
Last year, for instance, the US passed two landmark legislative acts—the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act—that combined pour $400 billion into the country’s clean technology supply chain, while cleantech investments were also a pillar of the recent Budget 2023 out of Ottawa, offering a slew of tax credit toward green energy production over the next five years.
Already, the US has seen more than $200 billion of private investment funneled into cleantech or re-shoring initiatives since August 2022 as a result of these incentives.
Automation being adopted at a slower pace than expected
Even as governments work hard to incentivize the adoption of new tools and the development of new technologies, companies are moving at a slower pace when it comes to onboarding AI than the WEF originally anticipated, the study shows.
Companies polled estimated that 34 percent of all business-related tasks today are already performed by machines, compared to 66 percent performed by humans. This represents a nearly negligible 1 percent increase in the level of automation that was reported in the 2020 edition of the WEF survey, and contradicts expectations that almost half (47 percent) of business tasks would be automated by 2025.
In total, roughly 50 percent of organizations polled expect AI and automation to actually increase job growth, while only 25 percent see AI driving job losses.
A new focus for innovative startups
While AI is often used to stoke fears, these latest findings should be seen as a welcome sign for startup founders and innovative business leaders of all stripes. That’s because the study shows there is a huge appetite for all-new solutions targeting not just emergent industries like cleantech, but even helping automate rote business tasks that today remain frustratingly manual.
This is a similar ethos that’s embodied by the team here at Boast AI. We leverage critical integrations with the leading financial and engineering platforms to enable our AI-driven technology to streamline the process of filing tax claims, while giving R&D teams a “platform of intelligence” to optimize their product roadmap.
To learn more about how your startup may qualify for innovation funding by embracing innovation, schedule a call with our team today.