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IMF: About 40% of jobs worldwide could be disrupted by AI

AI may worsen overall inequality, a concern that policymakers must address to prevent technology from escalating social tensions.
IMF: About 40% of jobs worldwide could be disrupted by AI
Posted at 2:32 PM, Jan 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-15 14:32:24-05

Artificial intelligence could negatively impact nearly 40% of all jobs across the world by potentially increasing inequality.

In a new study, the International Monetary Fund says the world is on the edge of a tech revolution that could increase productivity, boost global growth, and raise incomes globally.

The study, which examines the global impact of AI on jobs, reveals that nearly 40% of jobs worldwide are in some form already exposed to AI, impacting high-skilled jobs the most. Meanwhile, around 60% of jobs in developed economies could be impacted, with roughly half benefiting from AI integration to enhance productivity.

The study notes that approximately half of those affected will benefit from increased productivity due to AI integration, but that the other half might face the replacement of core tasks by AI, resulting in lower labor demand, reduced wages, and fewer job opportunities.

“The effect on labor income will largely depend on the extent to which AI will complement high-income workers. If AI significantly complements higher-income workers, it may lead to a disproportionate increase in their labor income. Moreover, gains in productivity from firms that adopt AI will likely boost capital returns, which may also favor high earners. Both of these phenomena could exacerbate inequality,” said IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva in a blog post.

Georgieva says that AI may worsen overall inequality, a concern that policymakers must address to prevent technology from escalating 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,” said Georgieva.

According to CNN, some tech firms are already reconsidering staffing levels, directly attributing it to the impact of AI.

For example, Google and Amazon announced layoffs this week, following their significant investments in AI startup Anthropic late last year. 

Discord also cut 17% of its staff, Unity Software reduced its workforce by 25%, and Duolingo laid off approximately 10% of its contract workers, with Bloomberg reporting that it will focus on its AI tools.

SEE MORE: What is artificial intelligence? An explanation of the tech buzzword


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