Exploring and shaping the Use of AI in the Working World Together

ai:conomics is Lifting the state of Research about AI in the Working World to the next Level.

So far, there has been little research about the use of AI and its effects on employees and their occupations. ai:conomics strives to change that.

The project creates new scientific insights into the influence of AI on (the future of) work and promotes collaboration as well as learning from and with each other.
The aim is to help companies, society and (political) decision makers develop a deep understanding of the complex societal challenges that come along with the introduction of AI to the working world and find ways to overcome them.

Exploring the impact of AI where it happens: in companies.

The social science project uses the methodology of "insider econometrics", a research practice that uses studies in companies to gain knowledge out of corporate practice. For ai:conomics, controlled field studies are conducted with different AI applications in three large corporations in Germany. The impact of AI use cases on work, employees and job competence profiles will be measured. In a second step, the results of the field experiments will be related to developments in the German labor market and the extent to which the results can be generalized will be examined.

The heart of ai:conomics

Controlled field studies in companies

The social science project uses methodology of "Insider Econometrics". This research direction uses experimental studies in companies. For ai:conomics, field experiments with different AI applications are conducted in three companies in Germany.

Expand the horizon

Complement the results with register data

In a second step, the results of the field experiments will be extended by register data to better understand the different impacts of AI on various companies and workers with different career paths.

Through the combination of survey data and registry data the following research questions are supposed to be answered:

  • How does AI change the tasks and qualification profiles of occupational positions?
  • How does AI influence employee’s productivity and performance in a variety of different occupations?
  • How do members of staff perceive the use of ai and how do they react, e. g. regarding their wellbeing?
  • And what are the effects of a possible diffusion of AI on economic sectors and the labor market?

The research questions are aiming to better understand the impact ai has on employees with different kind of career paths.

ai:conomics Counts on Collaboration

In the context of the empirical field studies researchers, companies and political stakeholders work together in a co-creative process.
At ai:conomics co-creation is defined as the transdisciplinary work researchers, employers, employees, technology-experts, members of the works council and political decision-makers put in in unity.

Because neither the research object, nor the variety of stakeholders are trivial in this project. The stakeholders are all fulfilling relevant tasks and share often similar, sometimes disjointed, and once in a while opposing interests. Experience clearly shows that even in such a complex field it is possible to work successfully and effectively, if the process of working together has been actively taken care of.
For this reason, we explicitly value a collaborative process design in this project.

In this way, we are testing on a small scale what is needed on a large scale to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the use of AI in the working world:
Together with many different players, we are creating many new things.

The Project is led by an International Consortium of three Partners

Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) der Maastricht University School of Business and Economics
The ROA in the Netherlands is leading the project and conducting the controlled field studies.

Institut für Arbeitsmarkt und Berufsforschung (IAB)
The IAB in Nuremberg is responsible for generalizing the results in order to draw conclusions for the German labor market.

zukunft zwei GmbH
The SME takes over communication, transfer and designs peer learning and (social) partnership collaborations that strengthen the sustainability, outreach and nationwide transferability of the project results. 

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS/ Denkfabrik Digitale Arbeitsgesellschaft) by resolution of the German Bundestag. It follows the recommendation of the German Enquete Commission on AI to conduct evidence-based research on the employment effects of AI deployment in order to support scientific knowledge progress, management decisions, social partnership agreements and political debates.

Benefiting from Diversity of Perspective

A holistic research design that observes the impact of AI on both a small and a large scale and combines a view of technological, economic and social effects requires a diversity of perspectives and extensive expertise. ai:conomics provides this by bringing together experts from science, business, politics and the social partnership who see themselves as a team across organisational and national borders.



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