Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to reshape the global job landscape, affecting nearly 40% of jobs worldwide and potentially deepening existing inequalities, warns the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In a blog post, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva emphasizes the urgency for countries to establish robust social safety nets and retraining programs to mitigate the impact on vulnerable workers.
The IMF’s analysis reveals that approximately 60% of jobs in advanced economies, such as the US and the UK, are exposed to AI, with about half of these jobs at risk of negative effects. Jobs with “high complementarity” to AI, such as those involving responsibility and human interaction, are considered safer, including roles like surgeons, lawyers, and judges.
However, jobs with “low complementarity,” such as telemarketing, face higher potential displacement by AI. The analysis also indicates that AI exposure is 40% in emerging market economies like China and India, and 26% in low-income countries.
Georgieva highlights that AI’s impact could exacerbate overall global inequality and lead to social tensions if not addressed proactively. As advanced economies face greater risks from AI, Georgieva urges policymakers to establish comprehensive social safety nets and retraining programs, making the AI transition more inclusive and safeguarding livelihoods.
The IMF report suggests that higher-wage earners with jobs highly complementary to AI may experience increased income, contributing to rising inequality. Georgieva emphasizes the need for countries to make critical choices regarding AI property rights, redistributive policies, and fiscal measures to shape its impact on income and wealth distribution.
While AI is expected to be a key topic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reassures that jobs will exist in the future, raising questions about the evolving nature of these jobs. He suggests that AI can facilitate mid-career transitions, making expertise more accessible.
The IMF’s analysis aligns with previous warnings from experts, indicating that AI’s effects will be more profound in advanced economies, particularly impacting white-collar workers. In contrast, emerging markets and lower-income nations may face challenges harnessing AI benefits due to a lack of infrastructure and skilled workforces, potentially worsening inequality over time.
Georgieva concludes by underlining the transformative potential of AI in the global economy and calls for proactive measures to ensure it benefits humanity at large.IMF Warns of AI Impact on Jobs and Global Inequality