Artificial intelligence is coming for America’s high-paid professions as it creates winners and losers across the labor market like never before.

White-collar jobs and better-educated occupations along with production workers are among the most susceptible to AI’s spread into the economy, according to a Brookings Institution report Wednesday that draws on a new analysis of patent data by Stanford University graduate student Michael Webb.

“Webb’s modeling suggests that just as the impacts of robotics and software tend to be sizable and negative on exposed middle- and low-skill occupations, so AI’s inroads are projected to negatively impact higher-skill occupations,” researchers Mark Muro, Jacob Whiton and Robert Maxim wrote, noting that their analysis shows potential impacts can be both positive and negative. Workers with graduate or professional degrees will be almost four times as exposed to AI as workers with just a high school degree, the report showed.

The researchers also concluded that AI appears most likely to affect men, prime-age and white and Asian American workers. Business, finance, and technology will be more exposed, along with natural resource and production industries, they found. Farming, one of humanity’s earliest jobs, may also be affected by AI as drones and precision agriculture help boost productivity. Farming, fishing and forestry had the top exposure score of any occupational group.

The paper is the latest in a growing body of research on how labor markets may be upended by AI, the algorithms that can learn to handle tasks by finding statistical patterns in data rather than by following directions from people.

The findings also highlight how much remains unknown about the effects of AI versus other types of automation on jobs, and that while the impacts may be concentrated more in some areas than others, the technology ultimately could affect work in almost every occupational group. Some 740 of 769 occupations in the analysis could be “exposed to, complemented by, or completed by AI,” the researchers concluded.

Also among the most AI-exposed large metro areas are other high-tech centers in San Jose, California, and Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. Detroit and other manufacturing centers including Greenville, South Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky, also score highly, as does Bakersfield, California, an agriculture and logistics hub, the researchers wrote.

The category of market-research analysts and marketing specialists has the highest exposure to AI, according to the report’s scores, followed by sales managers, computer programmers and personal financial advisers.

While high-end jobs face an impact, that may not go all the way to the top: “the most elite workers -- such as CEOs -- appear to be somewhat protected,” the researchers find.

Metro Areas

First « 1 2 3 » Next