(Repost) Bloomberg -- Nobel Prize Winner Cautions on Rush Into STEM After Rise of AI

(Credit: Transcript by OpenAI Whisper)

Nobel Prize winner cautions on rush into STEM after rise of AI. A Nobel Prize winning labor market economist has cautioned younger generations against piling into studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, STEM, subjects, saying his empathetic and creative skills may thrive in a world dominated by artificial intelligence. Christopher Pissarides, professor of economics at the London School of Economics, said that workers in certain IT jobs risk sowing their own seeds of self-destruction by advancing AI that will eventually take the same jobs in the future. While Pissarides is an optimist on AI's overall impact on the jobs market, he raised concerns for those taking STEM subjects hoping to ride the coattails of the technological advances. He said that despite rapid growth in the demand for STEM skills currently, jobs requiring more traditional face-to-face skills, such as in hospitality and healthcare, will still dominate the jobs market. The skills that are needed now to collect the data, collate it, develop it, and use it to develop the next phase of AI or more to the point make AI more applicable for jobs, will make the skills that are needed now obsolete because it will be doing the job, he said in an interview. Despite the fact that you see growth, there's still not as numerous as might be required to have jobs for all those graduates coming out with STEM because that's what they want to do. He added, this demand for these new IT skills, they contain their own seeds of self-destruction. The popularity of STEM subjects, such as computer science, has boomed in recent years as students hope to make themselves more employable for the future world of work. The rapid rise of AI could transform the skills needed for workers as it makes some tasks and roles obsolete. However, in the long term, managerial, creative, and empathetic skills, including communications, customer services, and healthcare, will likely remain high in demand as they are less replaceable by technology, particularly AI. When you say the majority of jobs will be jobs that will involve personal care, communication, good social relationships, people might say, oh God, is that what we have to look forward to in the future? Pissaride said, we shouldn't be looking down at these jobs. They're better than the jobs that school leavers used to do.


Key Takeaways from the Article:

  1. Caution Against Over-Focusing on STEM: Nobel Prize-winning economist Christopher Pissarides advises younger generations to be cautious about heavily focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects in light of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

  2. Potential Risk in IT Jobs: Pissarides, a professor at the London School of Economics, warns that workers in certain IT roles might be inadvertently contributing to the advancement of AI technologies that could eventually replace their jobs.

  3. Optimistic but Cautious about AI's Job Market Impact: While optimistic about AI's overall effect on the job market, Pissarides expresses concern for those pursuing STEM careers solely to capitalize on technological advancements.

  4. Growing Demand for Traditional Skills: Despite the current high demand for STEM skills, jobs requiring traditional face-to-face skills, like those in hospitality and healthcare, are expected to continue dominating the job market.

  5. STEM Skills May Become Obsolete: Pissarides points out that the skills currently needed in AI and IT sectors might soon become obsolete as AI technologies evolve and start performing these roles.

  6. STEM Popularity and Job Market Realities: The popularity of STEM subjects has surged recently, driven by the notion of increasing employability in the future job market. However, this rush may not align with actual job market needs, given the transformative impact of AI.

  7. Future Demand for Managerial, Creative, and Empathetic Skills: In the long term, skills in management, creativity, and empathy, including communication and social interaction, are likely to remain in high demand as they are less easily replaced by technology, especially AI.

  8. Revaluation of Personal Care and Social Jobs: Pissarides emphasizes the value of jobs involving personal care, communication, and social relationships, advocating a reevaluation of their importance in the future job market.

The article highlights the nuanced implications of AI's growth on the job market and the need for a balanced approach to career choices, considering both technological and human-centric skills.

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