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MIT Professor Erik Brynjolfsson says Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are automating many mid-skill jobs but not low skill or high skill ones

While a graduate student at MIT, I took a class with Professor Eric Brynjolfsson. He's published many papers and books, including Race Against the Machine. Most of his work centers around how Technology has impacted our labor dynamics. One of his key findings is that machine learning and artificial intelligence are automating many jobs, shrinking the number of traditionally available mid-skill jobs. As expected, they haven't automated as many high-skilled jobs so those jobs are in great demand. Not as expected is that some low-skilled, entry level jobs are also hard to automate because they require the type of coordination and creativity that machines don't currently have. Not enough emphasis is being placed on these jobs, he says.

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Erik Brynjolfsson is the Schussel Family Professor at the  MIT Sloan School of Management, Director of theMIT Center for Digital Business, Chair of the MIT Sloan Management Review, and the Editor of the Information Systems Network. His research and teaching focuses on how businesses can effectively use information technology (IT) in general and the Internet in particular. I had the pleasure of being his student and of conducting an independent studies project where I interviewed entry level employers to see what kind of skills entry level job seekers needed to be successful at work. Through this process, I was able to interview him on his work and suggestions for young entry level workers. As an MIT professor, Professor Brynjolfsson revealed that there is obviously a bias to try to get people into STEM/high skilled jobs that require extensive education. He believes theres an opportunity to train people into jobs that have lower barriers to entry and that will be around for a long time. So long as we race with the machines and not against them, there should be economic opportunity for young, entry level workers.

 

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