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Microsoft, Labor Unions Study AI’s Effect on Workforce.

On Monday, Microsoft Corp. and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) launched a collaboration to study the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on workers.

The collaboration between Google and the AFL-CIO, which represents 60 labor organizations and 12.5 million workers, was founded “to create an open dialogue” about how artificial intelligence will affect the workforce.

The alliance has three goals: AI education, taking workers’ perspectives into account when building AI technology, and “helping shape public policy that supports the technology skills and needs of frontline workers.”

The collaboration comes amid fears that artificial intelligence (AI) will replace some employment.

In a July study paper, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. estimated that up to 30% of working hours in the US economy might be automated by 2030, and that 12 million workers may need to transfer to alternative occupations. While this may result in employment losses for some, it is also projected to provide jobs working with future technology, particularly for individuals proficient in AI.

“Generative AI and the Future of Work in America.” McKinsey & Company.

Microsoft AI experts will lead learning sessions for AFL-CIO employees beginning in the winter of 2024, as well as “deep-dive and experiential workshops beginning in 2024 through 2026 that will be tailored to specific careers and roles,” according to the press release.

AI training is especially crucial since a lack of AI talent could jeopardize innovation and adoption of the technology.3 This scarcity was underscored when big giants like Microsoft hurried to absorb and match the salaries of any OpenAI employees who threatened to quit after CEO Sam Altman was momentarily removed from the company in November.

In November, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), another corporate behemoth in the AI race, introduced a free AI skills training program to solve the AI talent gap.

Microsoft stock was down slightly less than 1% on Monday. Despite Monday’s losses, the IT firm’s stock is up more than 50% year to date.

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