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AI in the workplace: Blessing or a curse?

U.S. President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order to evaluate and mitigate the risks of artificial intelligence systems with the objective of ensuring the safety, security and trustworthiness. The order calls for new safety assessments, standards on privacy, detecting AI-generated content, equity and civil rights guidance, as well as research on the technology’s impact on the labor market.

With the advent of ChatGPT and other AI-powered systems, workers in many industries are worried that these systems might jeopardize their jobs.

Will AI replace me?
AI is having a significant impact on the job market. As more industries adopt the technology, AI is changing how many tasks are performed, offering both opportunities and challenges for workers.

AI can relieve workers from repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on more complex and valuable functions, thus improving productivity and efficiency in the workplace. But it might also render some jobs obsolete.

The World Economic Forum predicts that AI will replace 85 million jobs by 2025 but create about 97 million new ones. Many displaced workers won’t have the opportunity or ability to become data scientists, big data analysts or machine learning engineers.

According to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 27% of the labor force in the U.S. and Canada is in high risk occupations for replacement by AI. Those jobs are in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, finance, farming, construction and transportation.

The American Psychological Association’s 2023 Work in America survey revealed that 38% of U.S. workers worry that AI may render some or all of their job duties obsolete. Among these, 51% said their work has a negative impact on their mental health, compared with 29% who are not worried about AI.

Many workers are especially concerned about generative (GenAI). According to a 2023 forecast by analysis firm Forrester, GenAI will replace 2.4 million jobs in the U.S. by 2030 and influence another 11 million. The most affected will be college-educated, white-collar, middle-class workers. Those earning under $60,000 annually will be less affected than those earning $90,000 or more.

More than half, 62%, of workers surveyed by Salesforce in the U.S., U.K. and Australia said they lack the skills to effectively and safely use GenAI.

AI is yet another evolution in the history of work, Isabel Soto, president of the Society of Human Resource Management in Puerto Rico (SHRM PR), told News is my Business.

“Artificial intelligence is not going to replace workers. We believe it will facilitate their work and provide analysis that will help them carry out their tasks more efficiently,” Soto said. “Employees should not fear AI but they should be willing to educate themselves and learn the new applications that are emerging.”

Employers face an AI skills gap
Salesforce also found that 70% of business leaders believe their teams lack skills for effective and safe GenAI use. Deloitte reported similar results, with 68% of executives surveyed reporting a moderate-to-extreme skills gap and 27% considering the gap at their organizations major or extreme.

Without the necessary skill sets, AI can’t thrive in the workplace. A SnapLogic survey showed that while 93% of U.S. and U.K. companies prioritize AI and have projects in the pipeline, 51% acknowledge a lack of skilled talent for their AI strategies.

Employers should immediately begin training, retraining and upskilling their employees, Soto advised. 

“The time to start this training is now. If they leave it for later, it may be too late to ensure that employees understand and embrace the changes attributable to AI,” he cautioned.

Advantages and disadvantages of AI in the workplace
As the use of AI expands in the workplace, employees and employers face several advantages and disadvantages, including the following:


  • Higher efficiency and productivity
  • Enhanced decision-making
  • Improved customer experience
  • Reduced human error
  • 24/7 availability
  • Increased safety, lower injury risk
  • Innovation, new technology
  • Emergence of new jobs


  • Initial costs
  • Technical challenges
  • Job displacement, unemployment
  • Urgent need for upskilling and reskilling
  • Psychological impact of job loss
  • Lack of creativity
  • Privacy concerns
  • Potential biases in hiring
  • Lack of human touch and emotional intelligence

The future of AI in the workplace
By 2030, activities that account for up to 30% of hours worked across the U.S. economy could be automated, propelled by GenAI, according to “Generative AI and the Future of Work in America,” a report by global management consulting firm McKinsey.

An additional 12 million occupational transitions may be necessary by 2030, McKinsey reported. As people leave shrinking occupations, the economy could shift toward higher-wage jobs. Workers in lower-wage jobs are up to 14 times more likely to need to change occupations than those in highest-wage positions, and most will need additional skills to do so successfully.

“Employers will need to hire for skills and competencies, rather than credentials, recruit from overlooked populations (such as rural workers and people with disabilities) and deliver training that keeps pace with their evolving needs,” McKinsey advised.

The future of AI in the workplace is already here, Soto said.

“Organizations are using it in data analysis to expedite decision-making and in recruitment to select the best candidates,” she said, noting that there are many uses for AI in the daily operations of a variety of companies. “AI already coexists with us.”

Author Details
Author Details
G. Torres is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. She’s worked in business journalism for more than 25 years, including posts as a reporter and copy editor at Caribbean Business, business editor at the San Juan Star and oil markets editor at S&P Global Platts (previously a McGraw Hill company). She’s also worked in marketing on and off for decades, now freelancing for local marketing and communications agencies.

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