Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of DeepMind, the London-based AI lab acquired by Google, has cautioned governments about the potential negative consequences of AI on the job market. According to Fortune, while speaking at the GIC Bridge Forum event in San Francisco, Suleyman emphasized the need for policymakers to take proactive measures, including considering the implementation of universal basic income, to assist knowledge sector workers affected by automation.
Suleyman’s warning comes amidst increasing concerns about the widespread adoption of AI and its impact on employment. A recent report by Goldman Sachs highlighted the possibility of AI technologies, such as generative AI tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT, impacting around 300 million full-time workers’ jobs in the United States and Europe.
Acknowledging the transformative nature of AI, Suleyman stated that numerous white-collar tasks would undergo significant changes within the next decade. In his view, this underscores the urgent need for governments to address the potential consequences of technological advancements and their effects on various industries.
Suleyman’s stance echoes similar concerns expressed by prominent figures in the tech industry. Elon Musk, alongside Steve Wozniak and others, called for a delay in advanced AI research, arguing that decision-making regarding AI development should not be solely in the hands of unelected tech leaders. They emphasized the importance of ensuring positive outcomes and manageable risks associated with more powerful AI systems.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, attempted to alleviate concerns about AI’s impact by highlighting the potential for wealth creation. Altman believes that AI will make many individuals considerably richer. Or at least, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, AI will enhance workers benefiting them and their employers.
However, Suleyman is concerned with the possibility that without proper measures to mitigate the negative consequences, a substantial number of workers in the knowledge sector could face unemployment and economic hardship due to AI’s ability to in essence reduce labor costs for specific tasks.
The impact of AI-related job displacement could be particularly disruptive for countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, where DeepMind operates extensively; due to the nature of their labor markets. And in his view, the lack of adequate plans to cushion the blow may result in upheaval and dissatisfaction among the millions of affected workers.