How will large language models (LLMs), deep-learning algorithms that can recognise, summarise, translate, predict and generate content using very large datasets, affect current and future jobs?
That is the focus of the new World Economic Forum white paper Jobs of Tomorrow: Large Language Models and Jobs, which finds that LLMs could be a boon for jobs that require critical thinking, complex problem-solving skills and creativity, including those in engineering, mathematics and scientific analysis. These tools could benefit workers by increasing the productivity of routine tasks and making their roles more rewarding and focused on a higher added value.
The paper takes a structured approach to understanding the direct impact of LLMs on specific jobs.
“Generative AI is poised to impact labour markets significantly, but this impact will be highly different across different roles,” says Saadia Zahidi, MD of the World Economic Forum. “Business leaders, policy-makers and employees must collaborate on harnessing the potential of new jobs while managing displacement and ensuring a future of work that empowers and elevates people.”
According to the analysis, which examined more than 19,000 distinct tasks across 867 different occupations likely to be impacted by LLMs, the industries with the highest estimates of overall potential exposure – both in automation and augmentation – are financial services and capital markets, along with insurance and pension management.
As LLMs advance, new roles will also be created, including AI developers, interface and interaction designers, AI content creators, data curators and specialists in AI ethics and governance.
The jobs most at risk of automation – with up to four-fifths of the tasks automated – are those that involve routine and repetitive language tasks, including roles such as credit authorisers, checkers and clerks. The occupations projected to remain relatively unaltered include education, guidance, career counsellors and advisers, with 84% of their tasks having a low exposure to change.
The new data on the impact of LLMs supplements and reinforces the findings from the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, which found that up to a quarter of jobs are expected to change in the next five years from the combined impact of technology, the green transition and the geoeconomic outlook.
The paper argues that businesses and governments must take proactive steps to prepare for the effects of LLMs in the workforce, including by improving foresight, creating an adaptable workforce, implementing systems that facilitate job transitions and encouraging lifelong learning.