Nobel-prize-winning economist, Sir Christopher Pissarides is arguing that ChatGPT will have a long-term positive impact on the workplace. Likely, it could trigger the four-day workweek. With all the news of ChatGPT replacing workers, with Goldman Sachs reporting up to 300 million jobs could be impacted, many worry AI could reduce the need for labor.
But, if Sir Christopher Pissarides is correct, AI will instead provide human workers with a greater opportunity outside of work, instead of harming their prospects. The conversation came up when the award-winning economist sat down with Fox Business’s Varney & Co. During his appearance he said of AI’s impact, “There would be more productivity. We would not need to work on those same things as long hours as before. And therefore we will be able to have the same income with fewer hours of work.”
This is a similar view and hope of AI that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, stated earlier this year. In their view, AI will drive innovation due to its ability to enhance existing human abilities. So instead of outright replacing workers, the idea is that AI will provide such a boost in productivity it could trigger societal changes.
Sir Christopher Pissarides says as much during the interview, “Pace is driven by productivity. Productivity will increase because these machines are working faster and better than human beings at the tasks they are doing, many tasks that they are not doing. But the tasks that they are doing, they will be able to produce the same product, therefore get the same money in a much shorter period of time than what we are doing now. And therefore we’d be able to take that extra time off if you want.”
In another Goldman Sachs report, this idea is also seen with global GDP getting a boost. According to the firm, this is due to generative AI’s “ability to generate content that is indistinguishable from human-created output and to break down communication barriers between humans and machines reflects a major advancement with potentially large macroeconomic effects.”
It’s likely that AI will continue to impact jobs globally. Already, workers across industries and fields have flocked to AI as an unmentioned partner during their workdays. But will the boost in productivity automatically in turn reduce workers’ hours?
Well historically, it has. The industrial revolution and the shift from feudal agricultural work did reduce the number of hours required to make the same products. In a report by the World Economic Forum, you can see a decline in hours worked in non-agricultural work. During this same period, there was also a great decline in overall poverty according to Human Progress.
So it seems that economist Sir Christopher Pissarides sees AI as triggering a similar effect for modern workers. Either way, the AI revolution is poised to affect the world at the same or even a greater level than compared to the industrial revolution.