Nearly 40% of jobs across the globe could be affected by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), with high-income economies more exposed than emerging markets and low-income countries, the IMF has warned in a new report.
In a blog post over the weekend, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva called for governments to tackle the “troubling trend” and to proactively take steps “to prevent the technology from further stoking social tensions.”
“We are on the brink of a technological revolution that could jumpstart productivity, boost global growth and raise incomes around the world. Yet it could also replace jobs and deepen inequality,” Georgieva stated.
The report pointed out that while automation and information technology have historically tended to affect routine tasks, AI is also capable of impacting jobs requiring highly skilled workers. As a result, advanced economies face greater risks from AI – but also more opportunities to leverage its benefits – than emerging-market and developing economies, according to the IMF.
The report showed that in advanced economies about 60% of jobs may be impacted by AI. However, roughly half of the exposed jobs may benefit from AI integration, thus enhancing productivity, the IMF wrote. For the other half, AI applications may “execute key tasks currently performed by humans,” which could curtail demand for labor, leading to lower wages and reduced hiring. In the most extreme cases, some of these jobs may disappear entirely, Georgieva warned.
In emerging markets and low-income countries, by contrast, AI exposure is expected to be 40% and 26%, respectively. “These findings suggest emerging market and developing economies face fewer immediate disruptions from AI. At the same time, 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,” the IMF concluded.
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