Thanks to AI, up to a third of workers will be able to spend less time working
Using artificial intelligence could create a four-day work week for almost a third of workers. The think tank's research highlights increased productivity as well as improved work-life balance for 28% of the workforce in the UK and US as a result of the adoption of artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence could enable millions of workers to move to a four-day work week by 2033, according to a new study looking at the UK and US workforce.
A report from think tank Autonomy says projected productivity gains from artificial intelligence could reduce the working week from 40 to 32 hours for 28% of the workforce - 8.8 million in the UK and 35 million in the US - while maintaining wages and productivity labor.
The study says this can be achieved by introducing large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT into workplaces to expand worker roles and create more leisure time. According to Autonomy, such policies could also help avoid mass unemployment and reduce the prevalence of mental and physical illnesses, writes The Guardian.
Will Stronge, research director at Autonomy, said: “Too much research into artificial intelligence, large language models and so on is focused solely on profitability or job apocalypse. This study tries to show that when technology is used to its fullest, but the purpose of the technology is changed, it can not only improve work practices but also improve work-life balance.”
The study found that 28 million workers, or 88% of the UK workforce, could reduce their working hours by at least 10% by implementing an LLMS.
As The Guardian notes, the City of London, Elmbridge and Wokingham local authorities are among those the think tank says have the greatest potential for workers, with 38% or more of the workforce likely to cut their hours in the next decade.
A similar study in the US, also by Autonomy, found that 35 million US workers could also switch to a four-day workweek within the same time frame. It found that 128 million workers, 71% of the workforce, could benefit from a reduction in working hours of at least 10%. It found that in states including Massachusetts, Utah and Washington, a quarter or more of employees could move to a four-day workweek using an LLMS.
Congressman Mark Takano, who introduced the 32-hour workweek bill in the US Congress, said: “Fundamental changes are happening in our workforce thanks to artificial intelligence and automation. Government action will be required to ensure that efficiency gains are felt by all workers, regardless of industry or skill level.”
In the UK and US, Autonomy is calling on public and private sector employers to seize the “important opportunity to become global leaders in the adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace” and see it as an opportunity to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of workers. It also calls on policymakers to take action.
Will Stronge said: “What I think would be really exciting is a robust industrial AI strategy with automation hubs where trade unions, industry and subject matter experts come together to say, 'We're going to improve productivity, and it will also benefit the employees'.”