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Study Finds Artificial Intelligence Liable to Endanger 23% of Israeli Jobs, Assist 30%

Researchers at the Taub Center predict that workers in high-tech, finance, insurance, and even real-estate are at risk of replacement by AI | Certain groups are more likely to see AI assist and improve their work

ערכות פיתוח של יישומי בינה מלאכותית בוועידת עתיד הבינה המלאכותית שנערכה בתל אביב, יולי 2023 (צילום: Chen Junqing/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Development kits for AI applications at the Future of Artificial Intelligence Conference in Tel Aviv, July 2023 (Photo: Chen Junqing/Xinhua via Getty Images)
By Nizzan Zvi Cohen

Artificial intelligence (AI) is liable to endanger the jobs of 23% of the Israeli workforce, approximately one million people, according to a new study published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies late last month. The study also predicts, however, that AI could improve the jobs of about 30% of Israeli workers, approximately 1.3 million people, by making their work more efficient. The rest of Israeli workers are expected to have a relatively low exposure to the influence of developments in the field.

In order to estimate the percentage of workers in Israel who will be exposed to AI, different indices were used to evaluate the effect of AI on specific jobs, according to the extent of the individual tasks that AI purports to perform out of all the tasks that make up the job. Then, the institute examined the prevalence of manual laborers among different population groups and economic sectors, in order to examine the estimated impact of AI on those groups.

The study found that workers in the leading high-tech industries (including finance and insurance, information and communication, and professional, scientific, and technical services) as well as in the real estate industry, have a higher than average exposure to AI in the workplace. It also found that as education level increases, so does the frequency of jobs exposed to AI. Young people are more exposed than adults, Jews more than Arabs, and employees who work mainly from home are more exposed than those who are required to physically come to the workplace.

However, the Taub Center clarified that exposure to AI does not necessarily mean a loss of jobs, and for certain groups it may actually make work easier and more efficient. Researchers at the center formulated the "complementarity index," which assesses the extent to which AI is likely to either complement or replace human labor in various fields. A job with high complementarity is likely to see AI increase efficiency and optimize output, while a job with low complementarity is at risk of being replaced altogether by AI.

Exposure to and complementarity of artificial intelligence by gender and sector (Source: Debowy et al., Taub Center, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics)
Exposure to and complementarity of artificial intelligence by gender and sector (Source: Debowy et al., Taub Center, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics)

The study shows that AI is expected to benefit workers in high-tech industries, such as software developers. On the other hand, in the finance and insurance industry, which is also characterized by a high level of exposure, an overwhelming majority of employees are expected to be affected negatively; AI may replace many of the agents and analysts in the industry, and even some of the accounting and legal professionals. In the education sector, most of the workers exposed to AI are expected to benefit from it through the development of relevant and up-to-date tools that can assist teachers in tasks such as preparing lesson plans and reviewing tests and assignments. Only a negligible percentage of workers in education are expected to be harmed by exposure to AI.

The study also shows that highly educated workers who are exposed to AI are expected to benefit from it, while less educated workers who are exposed to it are expected to be harmed. Surprisingly, people who work mostly from home, who are very exposed to AI, are evenly split between jobs that are expected to benefit and those that are expected to be harmed by it. In contrast, among workers in professions with high exposure who usually do not work from home, a greater proportion is expected to benefit from AI rather than be harmed by it.

When broken down by demographic sector and gender, the majority of Haredi men and Arab women who are exposed to AI are expected to benefit from it, although their overall level of exposure is lower than that of non-Haredi Jewish workers. According to the complementarity index, male Haredi and female Arab workers who are exposed to AI have the highest ratio of those who are expected to benefit compared to those who are expected to be harmed.

The research was conducted by Michael Debowy, Gil Epstein, Benjamin Bental, Avi Weiss and Alex Weinreb.

Weiss, president of the Taub Center, and the authors of the study, said: "We are in the early stages of introducing artificial intelligence into the labor market, and its impact is still limited to specific areas. Our research indicates what is expected to happen, based on existing knowledge, when the technology is widely adopted. However, as with any technological innovation, it is likely that new applications will develop and new opportunities will open up. In order not to miss these opportunities, it is important to follow the developments in the field and prepare for them, especially in higher education and professional training systems."

This article was translated from Hebrew by Tzivia Gross.

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