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IMF Warns of Potential Job Losses Due to AI, Urges Global Policy Response

by Marco van der Hoeven

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a stark warning about the potential job losses worldwide as a result of the accelerating adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). In a blogpost the IMF highlights the impact of AI on the global labor market, indicating that nearly 40% of jobs could be affected. This development poses a critical challenge for policymakers globally, as they are urged to formulate strategies to mitigate the adverse effects on employment and to harness AI’s potential for economic growth.

The article by Kristalina Georgieva discusses the transformative potential and challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) in the global economy. AI’s rapid advancement has sparked widespread interest and concern, particularly regarding its impact on the job market and economic inequality. According to an analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approximately 40% of global employment could be affected by AI, with varied impacts across different economic regions.

In advanced economies, the influence of AI could be more pronounced, with an estimated 60% of jobs potentially impacted. AI could enhance productivity for half of these jobs, while the remainder might face reduced labor demand, lower wages, or even job displacement. Emerging markets and developing countries, on the other hand, are expected to face less immediate disruption, with 40% and 26% job exposure to AI, respectively. However, these regions may struggle to harness AI benefits due to inadequate infrastructure and skilled workforce, possibly exacerbating global inequality.

Wealth disparities

Within countries, AI could also deepen income and wealth disparities. Workers adept at integrating AI into their roles could see productivity and wage increases, while those unable to adapt might lag behind. The technology might disproportionately benefit high-income workers and capital returns, potentially exacerbating inequality.

To mitigate these risks, the IMF emphasizes the need for comprehensive social safety nets and retraining programs to make the AI transition more inclusive. The IMF has also developed an AI Preparedness Index to measure countries’ readiness for AI integration, assessing factors like digital infrastructure, human-capital, labor-market policies, innovation, and regulatory frameworks. The index reveals that wealthier economies are generally better equipped for AI adoption, with Singapore, the United States, and Denmark scoring highest.

Regulatory frameworks

The article suggests that advanced economies should focus on AI innovation and robust regulatory frameworks, while emerging markets and developing countries should invest in digital infrastructure and workforce development. The goal is to ensure that AI brings prosperity for all, recognizing the importance of proactive policy measures in shaping the future impact of AI on the global economy.

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