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Elon Musk is ‘wrong’ that no jobs will be needed in the future – says poll of tech expert

IT experts said Musk’s statement was ‘hyperbole’ and made to grab headlines.

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Elon Musk’s claim that AI will make all human jobs irrelevant.
72% disagreed with Musk’s view that AI will render work unnecessary.
AI will redefine what we see as meaningful work.

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Elon Musk’s claim that AI will make all human jobs irrelevant should not be taken seriously, according to a survey of tech experts.

During an interview with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the AI Safety Summit last year, Musk said: ‘There will come a point where no job is needed — you can have a job if you want to have a job … personal satisfaction, but the AI will be able to do everything.’

The poll, by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, surveyed 800 IT professionals and 72% disagreed with Musk’s view that AI will render work unnecessary – 14% agreed (but only 5% ‘strongly’ agreed), with the rest unsure.

Many IT experts said Musk’s statement was ‘hyperbole’ and made to grab headlines. Those working in computing agreed that AI could replace a range of jobs, but would also create new roles, including oversight of AI decision-making – known as ‘human in the loop’. They agreed that many jobs, like hairdressing, were unlikely to be replaced by AI, despite advances in robotics.

BCS’ AI and Digital in Business Life report revealed that AI would have the most impact this year on customer services

BCS’ AI and Digital in Business Life report revealed that AI would have the most impact this year on customer services (for example chatbots replacing human advisers). This was followed by information technology, health and social care, publishing and broadcasting and finally education. Leaders ranked their top business priorities as cyber security (69%), AI (58%) and business process automation (45%). Only 8% of participants told BCS their organisation has enough resources to achieve their priorities. Cyber attacks were most likely to keep IT managers awake at night in 2024 – this result has been consistent over the last 11 years of the survey.

Rashik Parmar MBE, Chief Executive of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “AI won’t make work meaningless – it will redefine what we see as meaningful work. Tech professionals are far more concerned about how ‘ordinary’ AI is affecting people’s lives today, for example, assessing us for credit and invitations to job interviews, or being used by bad actors to generate fake news and influence elections. The priority right now is to ensure AI works with us, rather than waiting for a Utopia. To build trust in this transformational technology, everyone working in a responsible AI role should be a registered professional meeting the highest standards of ethical conduct.”

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