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169 HD – Knowledge work
10 June 2021| doi: 10.5281/zenodo.4905667

Myth: AI is disrupting knowledge work

Recently, applications based on machine learning have made enormous progress and can now take over tasks such as translations, document search or image recognition. Now, many fear that knowledge work will fundamentally change and eventually many knowledge workers will lose their jobs.


AI is disrupting knowledge work.

Indeed, companies are using AI applications to automate or augment very specific parts of knowledge work. However, new tasks are created in the process and the tasks that can be automated are usually very modular and delimited. Knowledge work relates to tasks in which knowledge, rather than services or physical goods, must be developed and deployed at the core.

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Folien der Präsentation

Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (2020). KI und Wissensarbeit – Implikationen, Möglichkeiten und Herausforderungen. Eu2020. 

Malone, T., Rus, D. & Laubacher, R. (2020). Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work, Research Brief 17.

Send, H. & Friesike, S. (2020). Job-Killer KI? Wie uns Untergangs-Szenarien von den wirklich wichtigen Fragen ablenken. Focus.


Harari, Y. N. (2017). Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow. HarperCollins Publisher 

Agrawal, A., Gans, J. & Goldfarb, A. (2018). Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence. Harvard Business Review Press. 

Netflix (2017, 29. Dezember). Black mirror Season 4, Episode 5 Metalhead  

Anita Schjøll Brede

About the author

Hendrik Send

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Send

Project lead at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and Professor for Business Administration at HTW Berlin

Hendrik Send is project leader in the research area “Internet-enabled Innovation” at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Also, he is professor for Business Administration at HTW Berlin. Prior to this he studied physics, he holds a diploma in Electronic Business at the UdK Berlin and did his PhD at the Universität St. Gallen about Innovation-Communities and idea generation.


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This post is part of our project “Why, AI?”. It is a learning space which helps you to find out more about the myths and truths surrounding automation, algorithms, society and ourselves. It is continuously being filled with new contributions.

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This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact

Hendrik Send, Prof. Dr.

Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society

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Du siehst Eisenbahnschienen. Die vielen verschiedenen Abzweigungen symbolisieren die Entscheidungsmöglichkeiten von Künstlicher Intelligenz in der Gesellschaft. Manche gehen nach oben, unten, rechts. Manche enden auch in Sackgassen. Englisch: You see railway tracks. The many different branches symbolise the decision-making possibilities of artificial intelligence and society. Some go up, down, to the right. Some also end in dead ends.

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