Warning from IMF that AI Could Impact 60% of US Jobs

AI is on track to transform the global employment landscape, but changes won't be felt evenly, according to new report.

As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly embedded in our professional practices, 60% of US jobs risk becoming impacted by the technology, according to a new analysis from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While half of these impacted jobs will become assisted through the technology, the research found that the other half could be negatively impacted by AI, with some likely to become obsolete altogether.

The IMF's report also highlighted AI's potential impact on global inequality, with its findings suggesting that the economies of low-income countries could fall even further behind advanced nations by failing to “seize” the technology. Here's what we know so far.

IMF: The Majority of US Jobs Will Soon Be Affected By AI

A new research report by the IMF is validating long-established anxieties about AI's looming impact on the workplace.

The report, which was released on Sunday, warned that 40% of global jobs will soon become influenced by the technology in some way, with this figure rising to 60% for advanced economies like the US.

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As AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard continue to streamline professional processes and fill efficiency gaps for businesses, the results of these changes won't be wholly negative though, with around 30% of roles in advanced economies standing to benefit from AI-enhanced productivity.

However, unlike previous with previous labor market disruptions, the report points out that white-collar jobs that require high levels of education aren't exempt from this movement due to rapid advancement with AI and machine learning.

“Jobs that require nuanced judgment, creative problem-solving, or intricate data interpretation – traditionally the domain of highly educated professionals – may now be augmented or even replaced by advanced AI algorithms,” – IMF report

The report revealed that roles with a high degree of responsibility – like lawyers, surgeons, and judges – could see the nature of their role shift the most, while occupations like dishwashers and performers will remain relatively exempt.

The IMF's report chimes with previous findings from Forrester, that revealed those on salaries of $90,000 and above will feel the brunt of AI much more compared to those on lower incomes with creative and blue-collar roles.

AI Could Exacerbate Global Inequalities

IMF's recent report also shone a spotlight on stark differences around its global use.

According to the research, only 26% to 40% of jobs in low-income countries are likely to feel the impact of AI in the coming years. These dwarfed figures, compared to averages amongst advanced companies, suggest that fewer positions will be taken over in the short term within these nations.

As a result, IMF's Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva pointed out that advanced countries will face greater immediate risks from AI, with jobs in major economies likely to disappear.

However, by failing to utilize the technology to enhance productivity, the report also suggests that these usage differences have the potential to exacerbate global inequalities in the long term, ringing alarm bells for countries that have been slow to uptake AI.

To avoid these inequalities from stoking social tensions, Georgieva explained that “comprehensive social safety nets” and “retraining programmes for vulnerable workers” are essential, especially in developing economies.

Do Current AI Guardrails Go Far Enough?

As AI development continues to outpace regulations around its use, many workers are growing increasingly anxious about their future employment – but how are governments responding?

After a sluggish start, a number of US states and cities have begun addressing the use of AI in the workplace, with New York recently rolling out a bill aimed at making AI-led hiring practices more transparent and Washington, D.C, Maryland, and Virginia cracking down on algorithmic discrimination within the workplace.

However, while Biden announced an executive order last October that seeks to address AI issues like job displacement and career opportunities, there currently remains little red tape around its use in the US, especially compared to Europe, where the extensive EU AI act is due to be finalized this June.

‘To find out more about the future of AI in the workplace, read our exclusive 2024 Tech.co report.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at Tech.co with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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