AI to impact 40 per cent of jobs worldwide and deepen inequality


Will your job be replaced by an AI robot? Image: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock

A stark new report from the IMF predicts that worldwide AI will impact 40 per cent of jobs as well as increase inequality between workers and countries


Artificial intelligence has been one of the most talked about technological developments. Its increasing role in our lives seems to cause some people to welcome it with open arms and others to recoil in fear because of what it might mean. Whichever side of the AI fence you sit on, though, there’s no escaping the increasing role it’s playing – and will continue to play – in our day-to-day lives.

A stark new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that AI will impact 40 per cent of jobs the world over. In some cases, this will bring a positive benefit and, in others, a negative. Zooming in on the details, the report goes on to say that in countries with more advanced economies, the impact of AI on our working lives will affect up to 60 per cent of jobs, with half of us benefitting from AI and half of us being negatively impacted. In low-income countries, the impact – both negative and positive – will be less pronounced, with an average of 26 per cent of jobs impacted by the use of AI.

According to Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the IMF, ‘We need a careful balance of policies to tap its [AI] potential’ and that without this AI could ‘replace jobs and deepen inequality’.

In her summary of the report, the managing director of the IMF goes on to say that as well as potentially deepening inequality between nations, it could do the same within nations and that: ‘We may see polarization within income brackets, with workers who can harness AI seeing an increase in their productivity and wages – and those who cannot fall behind.’

Georgieva goes on to say that younger workers might find it easier to exploit the opportunities presented by AI, while older workers are more likely to struggle to adapt and could, therefore, be potentially left behind.

In preparing the report, IMF staff assessed how well prepared 125 countries were to deal with the impacts of AI on the workplace. The findings showed that wealthier countries, including advanced and emerging market economies, tend to be better equipped for AI adoption than low-income countries, though there is considerable variation across countries. The three best-prepared countries are Singapore, the United States and Denmark.

In summing up Georgieva, says, ‘In most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality, a troubling trend that policymakers must proactively address to prevent the technology from further stoking social tensions. It is crucial for countries to establish comprehensive social safety nets and offer retraining programs for vulnerable workers. In doing so, we can make the AI transition more inclusive, protecting livelihoods and curbing inequality’.

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