The emergence and rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has intrigued, excited and alarmed people in equal measure.
Some believe it to be an inevitable evolution of technology that will make life easier for people in all areas of life, others claim it will eventually lead to mass unemployment as it becomes more advanced and begins to replace workers. There’s evidence to suggest both scenarios are credible, but analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims there can be a happy medium in the not-too-distant future.
The report points to the strength of global markets and economies and how their standing will relate to the ability to experience, adapt to or suffer from the growth of AI and its inevitable introduction to more labor-intensive workplaces.
Will AI take our jobs?
Almost 40% of global employment is already exposed to AI but, as IMF’s report points out, while previous introductions of new technology to the workplace have seen economies adapt and benefit quickly, AI is a completely different beast because of its ability to impact high-skilled jobs. The report goes on to claim that “as a result, advanced economies face greater risks from AI – but also more opportunities to leverage its benefits – compared with emerging marketing and developing economies.”
It claims around 60% of jobs in advanced economies may be impacted by AI. It’s believed that roughly half of those jobs will benefit from AI integration, while the other half will be at risk of succumbing to AI-powered technology that aims to execute key tasks currently performed by humans. In short, it may replace humans altogether, but only in the most extreme cases so don’t panic.
On the flip side, emerging markets and low-income economies will see their workforce impacted by just 40% and 26% respectively, suggesting there will be fewer immediate interruptions by AI in these areas. However, this is mostly down to these countries not yet having the infrastructure and skilled workforce to take full advantage of AI’s benefits.
How can we stop AI from replacing humans?
IMF’s report stresses the need for countries to act quickly to implement specific policies surrounding the use of AI in specific markets. It has developed an AI Preparedness Index that measures readiness in areas such as digital infrastructure, human capital and labor market policies, innovation and economic integration, regulation and ethics.
This assesses areas such as years of schooling and job-market mobility, as well as the adaptability of digital business models of a country’s legal framework and the presence of strong governance for effective enforcement.
IMF used the index to assess the readiness of 125 countries, with the findings showing that weather economies tend to be better equipped for AI adoption than low-income countries. It’s therefore claimed that stronger economies should embrace and prioritize AI innovation while developing regulatory frameworks, which will help “cultivate a safe and responsible AI environment, helping maintain public trust.”
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