Report: KC jobs at risk as high-paid, well-educated occupations face AI threat

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, better-paid and better-educated workers face the most exposure, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution. That means Kansas City is the job market in Missouri that’s most vulnerable to the effects of AI, but the state as a whole has relatively limited exposure.

The report from the Washington-based think tank relies on research from Michael Webb, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University. It distinguishes between the effects of “automation” technologies, which include robotics and software, and “artificial intelligence,” which the report defines as automation using “machines that can learn, reason, and act for themselves.” Whereas automation will affect primarily working-class occupations, the report says, AI is expected to impact a large number of white-collar occupations.

The research involved mining AI patent applications for keywords and then comparing those against job descriptions. It found that of 769 occupations sampled, 740 involved at least one task AI could potentially perform.

The jobs projected to see the most impact from AI include occupations that are heavily pattern-oriented and predictive or involve many routine acts. Examples of such occupations include research analyst, sales manager, computer programmer and financial adviser. Natural resource and industrial sectors are also expected to see the effects of AI incorporation into the workforce. Manufacturing and textile industries, as well as agriculture, forestry and hunting, were among a variety of sectors in which AI exhibited relative competency.

Missouri ranked 34th nationally in terms of its exposure to AI, meaning the sjobs in the state are relatively safe.

The study found that larger, higher-tech areas and places involved in manufacturing were most likely to experience labor disruption as a result of AI.

Kansas City ranked as the metro area in Missouri most exposed to AI, coming in 49th out of 388 metro areas.

Other Missouri cities featured in the report included Jefferson City at 121, Joplin at 140, St. Louis at 143, St. Joseph at 243, Columbia at 247, Springfield at 267, and Cape Girardeau at 353.

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