The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has conducted a new analysis, revealing that the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) could potentially impact nearly 40% of global employment, with advanced economies facing higher risks than emerging market and low-income economies.
According to the analysis, approximately 60% of jobs in advanced economies are susceptible to the influence of AI, compared to 40% in emerging market economies and 26% in low-income economies. IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva attributes this discrepancy to AI’s capacity to affect high-skilled jobs. In a recent blog post, Georgieva stated that advanced economies not only face greater risks but also possess more opportunities to harness the benefits of AI in comparison to their emerging market counterparts.
The analysis suggests that about half of the jobs exposed in advanced economies could be at risk due to AI applications taking over key tasks traditionally performed by humans, potentially resulting in reduced demand, lower wages, and decreased hiring. In extreme cases, certain jobs may even disappear entirely, according to Georgieva.
These findings align with a previous report from Goldman Sachs, which warned that the swift emergence of AI could endanger up to 300 million jobs globally.
Younger workers might find it easier to exploit AI opportunities, while older workers could face challenges in adaptation
The analysis also highlights a potential widening of the digital divide and income disparity between countries. While emerging and developing economies may face lower disruption risks from AI, they are also less prepared to capitalise on its advantages, potentially deepening global inequalities.
Georgieva emphasises that AI could impact income and wealth inequality within countries, leading to a polarisation within income brackets. Workers proficient in harnessing AI may experience increased productivity and wages, while those unable to adapt may fall behind. The IMF chief notes that younger workers might find it easier to exploit AI opportunities, while older workers could face challenges in adaptation.
To address these concerns, Georgieva calls for countries to establish social safety nets and implement retraining programs for workers vulnerable to AI. She warns that without proactive policies, AI is likely to exacerbate overall inequality, potentially fueling social tensions.
Georgieva urges advanced economies to develop regulatory frameworks while prioritising AI innovation and integration. For emerging and developing economies, she recommends increased investments in digital infrastructure and the development of digitally competent workforces as foundational steps for AI integration.
In conclusion, Georgieva emphasises that the era of AI is upon us, and with proactive measures, it is still possible to ensure that AI brings prosperity for all.