AI will affect 40% of jobs and increase inequality, IMF says

  • By Annabelle Liang
  • Business reporter

image source, Getty Images

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says that “in most scenarios, AI is likely to worsen overall inequality”.

Ms Georgieva adds that policymakers should address the “worrying trend” to “prevent technology from further inflaming social tensions”.

The proliferation of artificial intelligence has put its benefits and risks in the spotlight.

The IMF said artificial intelligence is likely to affect a larger share of jobs – about 60% – in advanced economies. In half of these cases, workers can expect to benefit from the integration of artificial intelligence, increasing their productivity.

In other cases, AI will be able to perform key tasks currently performed by humans. This could reduce labor demand, affect wages and even eliminate jobs.

Meanwhile, the IMF predicts that technology will affect only 26% of jobs in low-income countries.

It echoes a 2023 Goldman Sachs report that estimated AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs — but said there may be new jobs alongside the productivity boom.

Ms Georgieva said “many of these countries lack the infrastructure or skilled workforce to take advantage of AI, raising the risk that the technology could eventually exacerbate inequality between nations”.

In general, higher-income workers and younger workers may experience a disproportionate increase in wages following the introduction of AI.

Lower-income workers and the elderly could be left behind, according to the IMF.

“It is crucial for countries to establish comprehensive social safety nets and offer retraining programs for vulnerable workers,” Georgieva said. “By doing so, we can make the AI ​​transition more inclusive, protect livelihoods and limit inequality.”

The International Monetary Fund's analysis comes as world economic and political leaders gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Artificial intelligence is a topic of discussion after the rise in popularity of apps like ChatGPT.

China has introduced some of the world's first national AI regulations, which include rules on how algorithms can be developed and used.

In October, President Biden signed an executive order forcing developers to share security results related to artificial intelligence with the US government.

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