Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to affect nearly 40% of all jobs, according to a new analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says, “In most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality”. She added policymakers should address the “troubling trend” to “prevent the technology from further stoking social tensions”. The proliferation of AI has put its benefits and risks under the spotlight, according to a study.
The IMF said AI is likely to affect a greater proportion of jobs – put at around 60% – in advanced economies. In half of these instances, workers can expect to benefit from the integration of AI, which will enhance their productivity. In other instances, AI will have the ability to perform key tasks that are currently executed by humans. This could lower demand for labour, affecting wages and even eradicating jobs.
Meanwhile, the IMF projects that the technology will affect just 26% of jobs in low-income countries. It echoes a report from Goldman Sachs in 2023, which estimated AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs – but said there may also be new jobs alongside a boom in productivity.
Ms Georgieva said: “Many of these countries don’t have the infrastructure or skilled workforces to harness the benefits of AI, raising the risk that over time the technology could worsen inequality among nations.”
More generally, higher-income and younger workers may see a disproportionate increase in their wages after adopting AI. Lower-income and older workers could fall behind, the IMF believes.
“It is crucial for countries to establish comprehensive social safety nets and offer retraining programmes for vulnerable workers. In doing so, we can make the AI transition more inclusive, protecting livelihoods and curbing inequality,” Ms Georgieva said.
The IMF analysis comes as global business and political leaders gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. AI is a topic of discussion, following the surge in popularity of applications like ChatGPT. The technology is facing increased regulation around the world. Last month, European Union officials reached a provisional deal on the world’s first comprehensive laws to regulate the use of AI.
China has introduced some of the world’s first national regulations on AI, which include rules concerning how algorithms can be developed and deployed. In October, President Biden signed an executive order compelling developers to share safety results relating to AI with the US government.
The following month the UK hosted an AI Safety Summit, at which at a declaration on the safe development of the technology was signed by multiple countries.
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