Artificial intelligence will not take all the jobs, as reported by The Swedish Daily,1 reporting that the fin-tech firm Klarna is about to launch an AI assistant capable of performing the tasks of 700 employees. To those 700, I extend my wishes of good luck, but to the rest of the workforce, my message remains the same as it was during previous hypes about robots and digitalization taking over jobs: relax, more jobs will emerge. The new jobs that arise are likely to be better paid and more enjoyable on average.

In preparation for my book "Modern Times 4.0: From Cog in the Machine to Winner Among Algorithms," I collected front pages from Time magazine and the German Der Spiegel. Almost every decade over the last century, these publications featured headlines predicting unemployment due to the decade's technological hype. Computers, industrial robots, and digitalization all sparked brief periods of fear before society returned to normal. In 2013, the cycle repeated after two researchers from Oxford estimated that half of all jobs would disappear. Yet again, Time magazine's covers are discussing AI and ChatGPT, predicting the loss of jobs.2 However, in a few years, we will have adapted to the technology, and the number of jobs will not have decreased.

It's natural to feel anxious as the pace of change accelerates. Since the IT crash in the early 2000s, we've witnessed explosive technological development and an ever-increasing rate of change. But this is likely just the beginning. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain technology, 3D printing, and nanotechnology are just a hint of what the future of society and the job market might look like. Innovations in one area can enable innovations in another, leading to more professionals dedicating their careers to advancing existing digital technology and taking it a step further. Additionally, the cost of computing power, memory, bandwidth, sensors, and so on is rapidly decreasing. Cloud data and computing resources are accessible from anywhere on the planet.

Potential job destruction is often reported, but what is not yet visible is the emergence of new companies thanks to these new technologies, enabling jobs that were previously unimaginable. This development does not mean everyone will stay in the same job until retirement but based on the last century's experiences with technological development, it's unlikely that the total number of jobs will decrease due to AI.

Amidst swirling discussions by media know-it-all personalities and legitimate concerns about AI's impact on the workforce, it's crucial to pierce through the hype and recognise the unseen growth of new employment opportunities which lie beyond the immediate fears of job displacement. This evolution is not about the replacement of human labour but rather about the transformation and creation of new job roles that leverage the capabilities of AI to enhance productivity, innovation, and job satisfaction. As we delve deeper into this era of technological advancement, we find that AI is not a harbinger of job scarcity but a catalyst for the development of new industries, professions, and ways of working. These emerging opportunities are not only numerous but are also often characterised by their potential for higher quality, better remuneration, and greater fulfilment. It is this unseen growth, fostered by AI, that heralds a promising future for the workforce.

As technology evolves and previously secure jobs are threatened, some resist change vigorously. I believe for the transformation to be smooth long-term, we need to view the ongoing changes positively – be permitting, embrace, and not hold back. This applies to individuals as well as society at large. We may well be at the beginning of a new technological revolution, one that cannot be stopped, and if we were to slow down, Sweden could quickly fall behind other countries.

For those who are prepared to educate themselves, upgrade their skills, and pay attention to technological developments, the job market will be favourable. For those who do not, I can only wish good luck.

This article was written by Jonas Grafström, Ph.D. Jonas is is Deputy CEO at the Ratio – Institute, a Swedish think tank, a fellow with Young Voices Europe, and author of Modern Times 4.0: From Cog in the Machinery to Winner Among the Algorithms.


1 SvD. (2024, April 1). Klarna lanserar AI-assistent som gör 700 personers jobb. Svenska Dagbladet.
2 Time Magazine. (n.d.). Time Vault.