IMF Warns: Artificial Intelligence Threatens Almost 40% of Jobs Globally

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International Monetary Fund Highlights Growing Concerns Over the Impact of AI on Global Employment

A stark warning has been issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding the potential disruption caused by artificial intelligence (AI), revealing that nearly 40% of jobs worldwide could be at risk due to the proliferation of this technology. IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva emphasized the pressing need for governments to establish comprehensive social safety nets and implement retraining programs to mitigate the adverse effects of AI on the global workforce.

In a blog post published on Sunday, Georgieva expressed concerns about the exacerbation of inequality resulting from the widespread adoption of AI. She called for proactive measures by policymakers to prevent the technology from intensifying social tensions. This message comes ahead of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where the impact of AI is expected to be a prominent topic of discussion.

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The summit, which commenced on Monday, featured AI advertisements and branding throughout the ski resort town of Davos. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI responsible for ChatGPT, are scheduled to speak at the event later in the week. The program includes a Tuesday debate on “Generative AI: Steam Engine of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?”

As AI becomes more pervasive in workplaces and businesses, Georgieva acknowledged that its effects would be a double-edged sword for the human workforce. The IMF chief highlighted the expected disparities between advanced economies and emerging markets, emphasizing that white-collar workers in developed nations are more vulnerable to job displacement than their counterparts in manual labor.

Georgieva cited IMF’s analysis, revealing that in more developed economies, up to 60% of jobs could be impacted by AI, with approximately half potentially benefiting from increased productivity. However, the other half may face lower labor demand, leading to reduced wages and hiring, and in extreme cases, job disappearance.

Emerging markets, such as India and Brazil, are anticipated to have 40% of jobs affected by AI, while in lower-income nations, like Burundi and Sierra Leone, the impact is projected at 26%. Georgieva emphasized the risk of exacerbating inequality in these regions due to a lack of infrastructure and skilled workforces to harness the benefits of AI.

Georgieva also warned about the potential for increased social unrest, especially if younger, less experienced workers embrace AI to boost productivity, leaving senior workers struggling to adapt. Despite the risks, she acknowledged the opportunities presented by AI to boost global output and incomes if utilized responsibly.

While recognizing the transformative potential of AI on the global economy, Georgieva urged collective efforts to ensure that its benefits are harnessed for the betterment of humanity. The discussion around the impact of AI continues to be a crucial aspect of the WEF agenda, highlighting the need for a balanced approach to navigate the evolving landscape of technology and employment.

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