AI could impact 40% of global employment and worsen inequality – IMF

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Women, college-educated and older workers are at greater risk of losing job opportunities, as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) grows, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a new report.

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Women are more at risk than men because they tend to work in occupations that are highly exposed to the disruptive technology, the lender said, warning that AI could affect 40% of jobs worldwide and worsen income inequality.

The report, “Gen-AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work”, noted that the impact could vary across occupations and markets, and may not replace a job entirely, but rather help certain workers become more productive.

The report also noted that there are jobs that can be completely taken over by AI, and these include those that entail cold calling customers, such as telemarketers.

The safest ones, or those that are least likely to be replaced, include a diverse range of professions, from dishwashers to dancers and other performers, among others.

Highly exposed jobs

Positions with a high degree of responsibility and interpersonal interactions, such as those performed by surgeons, lawyers and judges, also face a “high exposure” to AI, but such jobs also have “high complementarity” to AI, which means the new technology could actually provide assistance rather than completely take over human tasks.

Other exposed jobs with “high complementarity” to AI are airline pilots and truck drivers.

These types of jobs entail a greater likelihood of workers experiencing productivity growth and wage gains from adopting AI-driven technologies, IMF said.

“However, these benefits will likely be contingent on possessing the skills needed to use AI. Without such skills, workers may be at a disadvantage and may experience lower compensation and reduced employment prospects.”

How to mitigate the impact

As for women and educated workers, they could also make AI work to their advantage, if they can adapt to new technologies, but the older ones are likely to struggle.

“Both women, with their strong presence in the services sector, and highly educated workers, typically employed in cognitive-intensive occupations, face greater AI exposure. Yet both groups also stand to gain the most from its integration,” the IMF said.

“College-educated and younger people move more easily into high-complementarity jobs; older workers, however, face challenges in reemployment and adapting to new technologies, mobility and acquiring new job skills.”

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