Calm Down? MIT Says Humans Are Still Cheaper Than AI

a robot hand typing on a keyboard

First they came for cashier jobs and we said nothing, now everyone is in a panic thinking AI will replace their jobs.

Amidst the panic of AI being deployed in multiple fields in order to cut down on the number of jobs done by humans, a new study from MIT comes to assuage some of those fears.

Fret not, it’s still cheaper to hire a human than deploy an AI in the vast majority of jobs, according to these findings.

From a report in Bloomberg:

 In one of the first in-depth probes of the viability of AI displacing labor, researchers modeled the cost attractiveness of automating various tasks in the US, concentrating on jobs where computer vision was employed — for instance, teachers and property appraisers. They found only 23% of workers, measured in terms of dollar wages, could be effectively supplanted. In other cases, because AI-assisted visual recognition is expensive to install and operate, humans did the job more economically. […] The cost-benefit ratio of computer vision is most favorable in segments like retail, transportation and warehousing, all areas where Walmart and Amazon are prominent. It’s also feasible in the health-care context, MIT’s paper said. A more aggressive AI rollout, especially via AI-as-a-service subscription offerings, could scale up other uses and make them more viable, the authors said.

You can read MIT’s paper here. Also, remember this company that said they had virtual cashiers but just outsourced them to humans in Latin America?

Also read: To Avoid Giving Workers Anxiety, Corporate-Speak Is Replacing ‘Feedback’ With ‘Feedforward’

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