GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A recent study says Grand Rapids is among the cities with the most jobs that could be threatened by artificial intelligence, but some see the technology as an opportunity for growth.

Founded in 2001, Atomic Object in Grand Rapids helps businesses problem-solve through software. They now have another tool that’s developing: AI.

“The way we’re trying to approach it is we want to use it as a tool to help the businesses we work with get,” Joe Chrysler, software developer and consultant with Atomic Object, said.

Chrysler said over the years, new technology has changed the way places do business — and AI will be no different.

“We see it in terms of writing, we see it in image generation. It’s going to impact a lot of businesses, but I think it’s going to impact them in empowering ways,” Chrysler said.

A group called Chamber of Commerce, which aims to help small businesses succeed, found that Grand Rapids has the fifth-highest percentage of jobs in the country that could be threatened by AI, with nearly 80,000 jobs at risk — 14.54% of Grand Rapids’ jobs.

Chamber of Commerce conducted its study by analyzing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report 2023.”

Cashiers, factory workers, bookkeepers, and accountants are among the jobs expected to be impacted the most, according to the analysis.

“From steamboats and horse carriages to cars, right? There seems to be friction when new tech comes into play, but we tend to work through it,” Andy Johnston, senior vice president with the Grand Rapids Chamber, said.

Despite the potential for job loss in some sectors, the WEF estimates AI will create more than 69 million jobs worldwide by 2027. 

Johnston said working in today’s market does require some digital skills.

“So training up employees, potential employees, in those areas is critical for our education institutions and employers when they think about upscaling,” Johnston said.

Between 2020 and 2030, West Michigan is projected to see a 9.7% growth in jobs.

Johnston said working with tech like AI could also help the region.

“We’re outpacing the state when it comes to job creation, but given the tight talent labor market, introducing new technology could likely be a benefit for us,” Johnston said.

Chrysler said AI entirely displacing humans from their jobs at any time in the near future is a long shot.

“AI right now is really great at writing the first draft of a blog post,” Chrysler said. “It’s really bad at writing the final draft of a blog post.”