Las Vegas, renowned for its vibrant entertainment industry, is undergoing a technological transformation that is reshaping its workforce. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly replacing human jobs across various sectors in the city. From check-in kiosks replacing hotel front desk staff to text-bots providing restaurant recommendations instead of concierges, and even robots serving food and bartending, automation is becoming a prevalent trend in Las Vegas.
Numerous studies suggest that between 38% to 65% of jobs in the city could be automated by 2035, creating significant shifts in the local economy heavily reliant on tourism and hospitality. Companies are turning to AI and automation to reduce labor costs, leading to concerns about potential job losses. However, some companies, such as resorts and businesses within Las Vegas, aim to integrate AI technology where it does not negatively impact productivity, profitability, or the overall customer experience.
To address these changes, there is a growing need for economic diversification in Las Vegas. By shifting towards highly skilled occupations that are less susceptible to AI replacement, the city can achieve greater balance and resilience in its workforce.
Recognizing the potential impact of AI on jobs, Las Vegas unions are actively negotiating for job protections in the face of automation. The Culinary Union, Nevada’s largest union representing 60,000 service and hospitality workers, is pushing for a new contract that includes safeguards against AI-induced job losses. Their efforts involve advocating for advanced notifications and training on new technologies implemented in the workplace. The union is prepared to make AI a critical issue in contract negotiations and, if necessary, consider strikes to protect workers from technological displacement.
While some service workers argue that AI cannot fully replicate the human touch, others believe that their contracts will safeguard their jobs despite concerns about technology. For example, workers like Sabrina Bergman at the Tipsy Robot bar and Holly Lang, a cocktail waitress at the MGM Grand, assert that machines lack the personal interaction that guests seek.
It’s not just service jobs that are being affected; white-collar positions such as accounting and data entry are also experiencing the impact of AI. While AI can enhance productivity in some roles, there is a risk of certain positions being eliminated altogether. On the other hand, AI is poised to create entirely new job categories that do not currently exist, introducing opportunities for those willing to adapt to this technological revolution.
Las Vegas city officials are taking steps to prepare workers for this shift. In August, they hosted events like the Chamber of Commerce’s panel on AI to raise awareness and provide insights into the implications of automation. Business owners, like Tony Yee who owns a small moving company, recognize the importance of embracing AI for business growth and efficiency, acknowledging that being left behind is not an option in this fast-paced technological landscape.
As Las Vegas faces its technological transformation, it is crucial to strike a balance between AI integration and preserving valuable human interactions. While automation might replace certain jobs, it also opens doors to new employment opportunities. By embracing change, diversifying the economy, and ensuring job protections, Las Vegas can navigate the future of work in the age of AI and automation.