IMF head warns AI “tsunami” could impact 6 out of 10 jobs in advanced economies

A hot potato: We’re used to hearing warnings from industry experts about how AI will affect the jobs market, but the latest prediction carries extra weight as it comes from the head of the IMF. Dr. Kristalina Georgieva says AI is hitting the global labor market “like a tsunami,” likely to impact 6 out of every 10 jobs in advanced economies.

Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, made the ominous forecast at an event organized by the Swiss Institute of International Studies. She said the impact of AI will be felt in 40% of jobs around the world, a figure that rises to 60% in advanced economies like the US.

Georgieva warned that workers and organizations needed to prepare themselves for this change. “We have very little time to get people ready for it, businesses ready for it,” she told the event, via Reuters.

Georgieva added that not all aspects of AI’s use in the workplace are negative.

“It could bring tremendous increase in productivity if we manage it well,” she said, warning that “it can also lead to more misinformation and, of course, more inequality in our society.”

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Georgieva said that the world had become more resilient to global turmoil after experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. She also noted that despite previously fast-rising inflation, predictions that most economies would fall into recession never happened. It’s an example of how economies can often weather disruption better than people imagine.

There have been numerous reports on the number of jobs that AI is expected to eliminate – over 2 million in the US by 2030, according to one study, while Goldman Sachs believes it could impact 300 million jobs in the US and Europe.

We’ve already seen examples of generative AI taking jobs; it’s often cited as one of the reasons behind the mass layoffs the tech and gaming industries have been experiencing.

AI advocates constantly point to the claim that AI will ultimately create more jobs than it eliminates: 97 million vs. 85 million, according to the World Economic Forum. We’ll have to wait and see if that proves accurate, or if many people simply drown as the AI wave crashes down.

Masthead: Nikko Macaspac

Will AI create more jobs than it kills off?

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