AI hitting jobs like a tsunami, IMF chief warns

Most policymakers and business leaders are still cautious when they talk about the impact of artificial intelligence tools on the global labor market but the boss of the International Monetary Fund is already mentioning a tsunami.

At an event in Zurich, Kristalina Georgieva said that AI is likely to impact 60% of jobs in advanced economies and 40% of jobs around the world in the next two years.

“We have very little time to get people ready for it, businesses ready for it,” she said at the event organized by the Swiss Institute of International Studies, associated with the University of Zurich.

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

Georgieva has essentially repeated the message sent in January by the IMF in its report that said that some jobs will be wiped out completely, while a part of them will be complemented by AI.

“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,” Georgieva wrote in a blog post.

Back then, the IMF assessed how well 125 countries were prepared for AI, and the findings reveal that wealthier economies, including advanced and some emerging market economies, tend to be better equipped for AI adoption than low-income countries.

Singapore, the United States, and Denmark posted the highest scores on the index based on their strong results in all four categories tracked.

However, a recent paper from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that the actual risk from automation was a bit less drastic than many of the doomsayers predict.

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