AI Disruption: IMF says 40% of Jobs to be Impacted

The IMF Found That 40% of Global Employment Will be Impacted by AI
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has Highlighted via a Study That Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Impact 40% of Global Jobs, Worsening Inequalities

Dominating the global technology landscape, AI is set to keep turning heads in the job market.

A study released by the IMF highlights how, not only will AI continue to disrupt the job market, but is also anticipated to worsen global inequality. Yesterday (15th January 2024), it was reported that AI will impact 40% of jobs worldwide, as more businesses make cuts in favour of the technology.

AI has the ability to perform tasks that humans currently complete, causing much anxiety amongst human workforces. Replacing humans with technology could lower labour demand, or make some jobs obsolete altogether.

Leveraging AI for human benefit

Using AI to reshape the world of work is something that businesses are considering as we propel further into the digital transformation age. The analysis in IMF’s study examines how the technology could potentially impact the global labour market and if it will complement, or control, human work.

IMF found that 40% of global employment will be impacted by AI, with the organisation citing its ability to impact high-skilled jobs as well as routine tasks. As a result, the IMF suggests that economies both face greater risks from AI, in addition to more opportunities to harness it to its full potential, but there is a clear discrepancy between developed economies and developing economies.

The findings by the IMF also suggest that emerging markets and developing economies will face less immediate disruptions from AI. In more advanced economies, about 60% of jobs may be impacted by AI, whereas the IMF's analysis suggests that AI exposure in emerging markets and low-income countries is expected to be 40% and 26%, respectively.

Image: IMF

Many of these countries do not currently have the infrastructure or skilled workforces to utilise AI to its full advantage, according to the IMF, highlighting the important point that technology development is unequal around the world.

Given that AI can help workers enhance their productivity, a lack of access could contribute to wider inequalities. IMF states that it is crucial for countries to establish comprehensive social safety nets and offer retraining programmes for vulnerable workers to make AI more inclusive and protect livelihoods.

The importance of ‘AI for good’ strategies

If AI can be used in tandem with humans in the workplace, it has the potential to revolutionise business productivity. Companies around the world are already beginning to implement this strategy, with Amazon introducing the Digit humanoid robot to its warehouses for instance.

Offering analysis, Kevin Macnish, Head of Ethics and Sustainability Consulting for IT company, Sopra Steria, says: “Today’s analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reiterates how ethics must be at the heart of AI adoption. While the benefits of AI in the workplace are known, the technology can also have a very real impact on the people and organisations deploying it, including bias, discrimination and risks to data privacy. 

It is also paramount to ensure transparency when it comes to harnessing AI for work. As Macnish explains: “With adoption accelerating, we have a duty of care to ensure AI is used in a transparent and responsible way, starting with considering an ‘ethics by design’ approach during its development and implementation. 

“Educating the public on how to use AI effectively will also help make the technology more accessible and easier to understand, and prevent these digital divides from occurring before it’s too late.”

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