Artificial intelligence will affect 40% of jobs globally, warns IMF

15 January 2024, 13:24

AI graphic
IMF report on Artificial Intelligence. Picture: PA

The International Monetary Fund said nations need to be prepared to harness AI but also lessen its impact on inequality.

Artificial intelligence is set to impact 40% of jobs around the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.

The IMF said the impact will be greater for advanced economies, with around 60% of roles affected.

About half of those workers will benefit from the integration of AI, which could boost productivity, but the remainder could see lower salaries, reduced hiring and, “in the most extreme cases, some of these jobs may disappear”, according to the IMF.

In a new report on AI and machine learning, the IMF said the technology could worsen inequality between nations as well as within society as a whole.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said: “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.”

She said the impact of AI is unusual in that it can also impact well-paid jobs.

“Historically, automation and information technology have tended to affect routine tasks, but one of the things that sets AI apart is its ability to impact high-skilled jobs,” said Ms Georgieva.

The IMF is concerned that advanced economies can adopt AI more quickly and harness its benefits more than developing nations, and also warned over the impact within societies and communities.

It fears that while younger workers will be able to use AI and the opportunities it brings, older workers could struggle to adapt.

Ms Georgieva said: “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 programmes for vulnerable workers.

“In doing so, we can make the AI transition more inclusive, protecting livelihoods and curbing inequality.”

Wealthier, advanced nations tend to be better equipped to adopt AI, the report found, with Singapore, the US and Denmark seen as being the best prepared among 125 countries assessed by the IMF.

The report comes as business and political leaders gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with the rise of AI set to be in sharp focus, as well as worries over global conflicts.

By Press Association

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