The co-founder of PayPal has added fuel to the fire to the great AI debate by predicting that the rise of artificial intelligence will have a ‘worse’ impact on maths-focused professions rather than those with writing skills.

The billionaire shared his reasoning on the latest episode of “Conversations with Tyler”, speculating that within three to five years, AI will greatly alter the way math is practiced and potentially displace traditional roles and careers in the field.

My intuition would be it’s going to be quite the opposite, where it seems much worse for the maths people than the word people. What people have told me is that they think within three to five years, the AI models will be able to solve all the US Math Olympiad problems. That would shift things quite a bit,” Thiel said.

If this prediction is true, it challenges the dominance of maths in industries, especially tech giants like Silicon Valley. “If I fast-forwarded to, let’s say, Silicon Valley in the early 21st century, it’s way too biased toward the maths people.” He pointed out that the company placed a dramatic overemphasis on math skills, often viewing them as the sole benchmarks for competency.

Additionally, Thiel questioned the correlation between mathematical prowess and real-world capabilities, believing that it is a flawed way of testing intelligence. “It’s like if you want to go to medical school, okay, we weed people out through physics and calculus, and I’m not sure that’s really correlated with your dexterity as a neurosurgeon. I don’t really want someone operating on my brain to be doing prime number factorizations in their head while they’re operating on my brain,” he said.

He even shared a parallel from his own real-life experience with chess. In his youth, he believed that chess mastery should be a universal test-a-bias. “In the late ’80s, early ’90s, I had a chess bias because I was a pretty good chess player. And so my chess bias was, you should just test everyone on chess ability, and that should be the gating factor,” Thiel said. “Why even do math? Why not just chess? That got undermined by the computers in 1997.”

He added: “Isn’t that what’s going to happen to math? And isn’t that a long-overdue rebalancing of our society?”

Thiel’s perspective on AI taking over math-dominated fields challenges our society’s views on AI’s impact, indicating that implications for mathematical disciplines are far more imminent than writing-related ones.