A new report from Autonomy says millions of people could enjoy a four-day workweek by 2033 if AI tools like ChatGPT are properly integrated into the workspace.
We may not want AI to take over our jobs completely, but it would be great if it could handle a lot of the boring stuff. Autonomy, a think tank based in the UK, published a report that puts some interesting numbers to this potentially happening in the next decade.
Autonomy analyzed cities in the UK as well as states in the USA to see which areas hosted workers that could best leverage AI in their jobs.
Some jobs lend themselves more to AI automation than others, but the results of the research give us some idea of what the future of work may look like.
In its analysis of US jobs, the GPT-4 (day week) report said that 35 million workers (28% of the US workforce) could work a 32-hour workweek by 2033.
The report further claimed that 71% of the US labor market (128 million workers) could have working hours reduced by at least 10% if LLMs were integrated into their job functions.
For UK workers the report said 28% (8.8 million workers) could achieve a 32-hour workweek, and 88% (27.9 million workers) could reduce their working hours by 10% by 2033.
The research used data from the IMF and Goldman Sachs which shows AI improving productivity, particularly in desk-based jobs, by 1.5% each year.
What if AI was used for the good of workers?
– Using IMF and Goldman Sachs data, we estimate that 8.8 million workers could have a four-day week by 2033, with same pay, should this tech be steered properly.https://t.co/XJwEvLhAXI pic.twitter.com/MTanQVG1bC
— Autonomy (@Autonomy_UK) November 20, 2023
Will it happen?
The prospect of working fewer hours, achieving the same output, and getting paid the same salary sounds great. But will AI make this a reality?
The increase in productivity from having AI do the menial, mundane aspects of jobs is already being realized. Whether those benefits will accrue to employers or their employees is a societal question, not a technological one.
Autonomy is candid about its support for universal basic income and workers’ rights. One of the funders of this research was the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust.
The stated aim of that trust is “to advance public education, learning and knowledge in all aspects of the philosophy of Marxism, the history of socialism, and the working class movement.”
On the other end of the political spectrum are people with more capitalist ideals who would also welcome an AI boost in productivity.
Shareholders and CEOs are more likely to want the 20% productivity boost to be reflected in their earnings report than in a shorter workweek.
Workers will say, ‘With AI we can do the same amount of work in less time.” Employers will counter with, ‘With AI you can work the same amount of time and deliver 20% more output.’
Autonomy published a report earlier this year that showed there were tangible benefits to companies that participated in a four-day workweek trial.
Of the 61 companies that participated in the trial, 56 stuck with the shorter workweek after the trial ended.
Staff were generally less prone to burnout, staff retention improved, and revenue remained largely the same.
Couple those results with what AI will be able to do 10 years from now and your boss may be happy to give you those long weekends after all.