Columbus is ranked 18th in the top 50 metro areas where AI threatens employees the most.
Chamberofcommerce.org analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and focused on the top 10 most at-risk jobs from a world economic forum study.
Researchers found administrative roles such as record-keeping and cashiers as well as accounting, bookkeeping, factory and traditional security roles face the largest potential job losses due to AI.
“I think a little bit of fear is probably warranted,” President of Columbus Futurists David Staley said.
Columbus Futurists is a futures think tank. Staley says the AI conversation used to focus on automation in industries.
“Now what we’re talking about are clerical jobs, for instance, even accounting jobs that are threatened by AI. So I think that’s the big difference here. And I think this is why Columbus in particular, it seems to be particularly threatened by this next round of AI,” Staley said.
It’s a place Staley said we’ve been before: “Watson won at Jeopardy in 2011. And it was like, oh, what are we going to do now? Their computers are taking over? Of course, you know, what Watson is doing now? Doing your taxes for H&R Block.”
It’s something that is on the mind of Ohio State University pre-engineering student Asher Wolford.
“I would say it’s definitely been something I google, and I look into frequently because I’m always worried. I’m like, you know, how much money I put into school. I want to make sure that that comes back to me that my job is useful in the coming years,” Wolford said. “I’ve noticed it’s kind of been the buzzword of this year, but I guess since we’re still kind of just beginning to understand what place it will have, I guess, in our society and in our lives it’s still kind of a touchy subject.”
While some jobs may be changing, it’s also about the opportunities that open up.
“Everyone should learn to embrace what’s coming. So I think this is part of the progression of human history again, right? So we have to work with it and not against it, right,” Franklin University Computer Science Professor Chunbo Chu said.
Chu says he had mixed emotions reading the report because we’ve had these conversations about job loss fear before.
His example: the auto industry replaced the horse carriage industry. Then years later the auto industry brought in robots to the plants. Now he says, Chat GPT is bringing the conversation into focus again.
“AI is such a new hot thing in our society, right? So especially since the release of Chat GPT last year, right? Everybody’s talking about AI but actually AI has been around for probably 60-70 years,” Chu said.