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Case Study: How AI Impacts Job Security and Economic Stability

11 October 2023 •

By: Elizabeth Dachsberger, Leney Mundell and Luke Streeten Technology

Aim of the research

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is an ever-growing aspect of today’s society. As it becomes more integrated into different industries, we wanted to investigate the impact of AI on job security and economic stability and how it may vary across different sectors and industries, with some experiencing more disruption than others.

Overview of respondents:

We conducted a survey of 60 participants between the ages of 20 and 40, with an almost 50% split between men and women, and a focus on the IT/Software and Design industries. We chose these participants because they are the target users of our Test Pilot product. The participants are young, tech-savvy, and interested in trying new things. These participants are also likely to be early adopters of new technologies, which makes them ideal candidates for testing our product.

Participants' demographics

Participant Demographics

Participants’ professions

Participant Professions

Survey questions:

Does AI promote laziness?

Our study found that only 10% of participants felt that AI promotes laziness. The majority (90%) felt that AI helps with simplifying some aspects of their work, but does not remove their ability to work hard.

The key factor is the way in which AI is used. If AI is used to automate repetitive or mundane tasks, it can free up people to focus on more creative and strategic work. However, if AI is used to replace people entirely, it could lead to job losses and increased unemployment.

Does AI generate trustworthy information?

We found that 80% of participants felt that the information they received from AI was only trustworthy sometimes. This suggests that there is still a significant sense of mistrust when it comes to using AI as an information source.

While AI has the potential to be a valuable source of information, it is important to be aware of the limitations of AI systems and to be critical of all information, including AI-generated information.

Can AI outperform you in the workplace?

A survey found that only 10% of participants felt that AI could not outperform them in their field of work. As a result, the majority believed that AI would eventually outperform them.

AI will affect job security by leading to …

Most of the participants felt that the impact of AI on job security will vary widely across industries, with some industries being more vulnerable than others. Industries that are heavily reliant on routine and repetitive tasks are more likely to experience job displacement, while industries that require human creativity and judgement are less likely to be affected.

How will AI affect South Africans socially and economically?

Socially, AI could help to improve the quality of life for many people by automating repetitive and mundane tasks, freeing up workers to focus on more meaningful and creative pursuits. While, economically, AI is expected to boost productivity and create new jobs in a variety of sectors, including healthcare, education, finance, and manufacturing.

Will AI worsen existing inequalities?

The participants in this study believed that AI would not worsen existing inequalities. However, it is essential to note that the participants are all employed and do not struggle with poverty. This suggests that their views may not be representative of the population as a whole.

Does AI free people to do meaningful work?

AI can free people to do more meaningful work by automating tasks and creating new jobs. A majority of participants felt that AI would free up time for more meaningful work.

Here is what some of our participants had to say about the impact of AI:

Verbatim Quotes (1)

What we have learned

AI is a rapidly evolving field with the potential to revolutionise many aspects of our lives. However, there is also some concern about the potential negative impacts of AI, such as job displacement and the exacerbation of existing inequalities.

To better understand public perceptions of AI, we conducted a survey of participants from a variety of backgrounds. The majority of participants believe that AI simplifies and streamlines work, and that it will free people to do more meaningful work. However, there is also some concern about the potential for AI to generate inaccurate information, and outperform humans in the workplace.

Overall, the survey suggests that people are both excited and scared about the development of AI. It is important to have open and honest conversations about the potential benefits and risks of AI so that we can develop responsible and ethical ways to use this technology.

Despite scepticism and mistrust over its usage, participants in this survey are surprisingly hopeful about the changes AI could make in South Africa. Many believe that AI will enhance working processes and evolve the work environment, with the impact on job security varying across different sectors and industries.

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11 October 2023
By: Elizabeth Dachsberger, Leney Mundell and Luke Streeten

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