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AI’s biggest impact: Which sectors have benefited most as job security remains a vital concern

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More than a year has passed since the public first gained access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, giving various industries the chance to experiment with artificial intelligence (AI) and a sense of the transformational potential — or lack of it. 

“Any industry that has large amounts of data that needs to be indexed and processed quickly is ripe for AI integration,” Reema Khan, founder and CEO at Green Sands Equity, told Fox News Digital. “In technology for example, writing thousands of lines of code is much easier to do with an AI co-pilot and can do ten times a software engineer’s productivity.”

The U.S. economy added over 353,000 jobs in January 2024, but the tech sector continues to suffer significant layoffs. Google laid off several hundred employees from its sales and advertising teams in the same month as part of multiple rounds of cost-cutting measures. 

Job security remains a paramount concern with the long-term adoption of AI in every industry. Many worry and wonder if their industry will be the next one to see AI integrated and their position made redundant. AI in some form has been in continuous development for over half a decade, which means last year provided just the widest application and awareness of a technology that many have already tested in some form over recent years.

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“Customer support across multiple industries has shifted quickly towards AI,” Dev Nag, founder and CEO of AI-powered assistant QueryPal, noted as one example. “For example, Klarna recently claimed that its AI assistant was able to cover the work of 700 laid-off employees, handling “two-thirds” of customer chats, or 2.3 million conversations — so far.”

Analysis from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found the majority of industries have seen at least an attempt to utilize AI technology. Perhaps unsurprisingly, tech, media and telecom companies are the most likely to regularly integrate for work and use outside of work. 

Energy and materials companies have shown the greatest resistance to regular adoption, while consumer goods and retail have shown the least amount of even single-use attempts at integrating AI. And that trend is unlikely to change, according to Khan. 

“AI is currently great at assisting in computational or rote tasks, but anything that requires human-to-human interaction or intuition remains a domain expertise for non-AI work,” Khan said. “We believe this trend will only be entrenched further, with humans having their differentiation in these tasks compared to AI.”

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Nag agreed that the industries that most rely on “high-trust, in-person relationships as well as those covered by stronger regulations or distribution gatekeepers” have shown greater resistance to AI adoption and will likely continue that resistance to change. 

“AI has perhaps had the largest effect on consumer apps, where voice assistants are as commonplace as clocks (whether Amazon Echo or mobile voice assistants), spam filters continue to improve and face recognition (for online photos and real-world cameras) has pushed far beyond what traditional computer vision algorithms could hope to achieve,” he added. 

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AI thought leader and tech investor Ed Watal, however, remained bullish on AI’s general adoption across industries, arguing that board and C-level personnel in organizations have shown greater awareness of “the potential benefits and risks of not being an early adopter” of new technologies.

“Industries which have a large number of blue-collar roles that are primarily service oriented and require remote and distributed workforce,” Watal told Fox News Digital. He cited industries such as home maintenance and construction as industries that will show greater resistance to early AI adoption. 

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“The more inconsistent the business processes within an industry the harder it would be to bring in AI. For example, supply chains where suppliers don’t change very frequently are likely to be able to integrate AI within their process,” he said. 

“On the one side, AI is being applied to automatically screen resumes and vet candidates, while on the other hand, people are using AI to create resumes that better match the requirements,” Watal explained. “These have both opened questions around bias and fairness in hiring and ethics of resume making.”

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Watal suggested those looking to explore the possibilities that AI could provide within their industry should follow a “simple three-step approach” to gain awareness: Learn the core concepts and terms around AI, start learning about personal productivity AI tools and learn the core use cases for AI within a given industry. 

Watal also noted that while the sizable job layoffs in some industries may cause concern, it remains difficult to quantify if the job losses have occurred as a result of AI adoption since “there is an overall decline in the number of employed people year-on-year since 2021.” 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown, however, that the industries most hit by job losses are in the labor-intensive sectors of mining and logging as of February 2024. Education and health services have seen the greatest increase in jobs. 

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