Artificial intelligence could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs worldwide in the coming years, according to estimates by investment bank Goldman Sachs.
This week, Bill Gates visited Trevor Noah's What Now podcast and, among other things, talked about the promise of artificial intelligence, noting that the technology will help people “not have to work so much.”
“If we end up with a society where we only have to work three days a week, that's probably fine,” Gates said.
The Microsoft co-founder also sees AI as useful in “cooking food and the rest,” thereby freeing people from daily tasks.
The billionaire has previously spoken about the risks of misusing artificial intelligence, and in July he published a lengthy message in which he spoke about the potential impact of the technology:
“I don’t think the impact of artificial intelligence will be as dramatic as the Industrial Revolution, but it will certainly be as big as the advent of the PC. Word processing software didn't eliminate office work, but it changed it forever,” Gates said. “Employers and employees had to adapt, and they did.”
Gates isn't the only business titan predicting a shorter workweek. Previously, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said that thanks to artificial intelligence, the next generation of workers will only have a 3.5-day work week.
“Your kids will live to be 100 and not get cancer because of technology, and they'll probably work three and a half days a week,” Dimon told Bloomberg in October.
Even Tesla and X owner Elon Musk, a fan of working late at night and sleeping in the office, believes that AI will eradicate the need to work altogether and create “universal high income.”
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“You can work for personal pleasure. But AI could do everything,” Musk told British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the UK AI Security Summit.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs has estimated that AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs worldwide in the coming years.
Meanwhile, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna envisioned AI will first automate “the drudgery of white-collar jobs,” but added that that doesn't mean people will be left jobless.
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“People confuse productivity with replacement,” he said at Fortune's CEO Initiative conference.
As an example, Krishna cites the jobs created by the invention of the Internet.
“In 1995, no one thought there would be five million web designers—there are,” Krishna said.
Between 2015 and 2019, a four-day work week was trialled in Iceland and workers represented by trade unions – about 90% of the workforce – now have the right to demand a shorter work week.
In 2021, the Japanese government's annual economic policy guidelines already included a recommendation that companies allow their workers to choose a four-day workweek.