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AI’s rise could put 40% of global jobs at risk

The impact will be felt more sharply in the plush offices of advanced economies than in the fields of emerging markets.

image of an office with robots and humans coexisting with eachother
Image: KnowTechie

Hold on to your office chairs, folks – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just dropped a bombshell: 40% of jobs globally are on the artificial intelligence (AI) hit list.

In a blog post, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva urged governments to knit a social safety net and roll out retraining programs.

She’s not playing fortune teller here; she’s basing this on hard data ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, where the elite swap business cards and hot topics.

“In most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality, a troubling trend that policymakers must proactively address to prevent the technology from further stoking social tensions,” she wrote In her statement preceding the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Davos, usually more famous for its slopes than its seminars, is already decked out in AI ads as it preps to host the summit. It’s like Silicon Valley swapped zip codes for a week.

Heavy hitters like Sam Altman, the big brain behind ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, and his wingman, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, are set to take the stage.

The agenda? A debate on whether AI is the new steam engine powering our Fourth Industrial Revolution. Spoiler alert: it’s complicated.

AI is expected to boost businesses and worker productivity in some ways but could give the pink slip to others.

Georgieva, echoing the collective wisdom of many tech pundits, suggests the impact will be felt more sharply in the plush offices of advanced economies than in the fields of emerging markets. So, if you’re a white-collar worker, it might be time to look over your shoulder.

imf data on 40% of jobs globablly are at risk of being taken over by AI
Image: IMF

In developed nations, up to 60% of jobs could be AI’s playground

Sure, about half might get a productivity pat on the back, but the other half? They’re potentially looking at the business end of AI’s efficiency scythe. We could be talking lower wages, less hiring, or, in true dramatic fashion, jobs going poof.

Turning our gaze to emerging markets and developing countries, the numbers are a bit different – 40% and 26% of jobs could get an AI makeover, respectively.

But here’s the kicker: many of these spots don’t have the tech or the training to ride the AI wave, which means the inequality gap could get a steroid boost.

Georgieva waved the red flag on the potential for social unrest, too.

Imagine the young guns using AI as a cheat code for productivity while the seasoned pros can’t seem to catch a break. It’s the perfect recipe for a workplace drama and not the fun kind with cake on Fridays.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Remember how ChatGPT became the talk of the town last year at WEF Davos?

Yeah, I don’t either, but that was just the appetizer. AI has since become more mainstream, and the cash is flowing in like never before. Despite the reshuffling of the workplace, AI might be the wild card we need.

The bottom line? AI is set to remodel our economic landscape – the challenge is to ensure it’s a renovation that benefits us all, not just the select few with the fanciest tools.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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