The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, has stated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to impact nearly 40% of all jobs, with the potential to exacerbate overall inequality in most scenarios.
Ms. Georgieva highlighted the “troubling trend” and urged policymakers to address it to prevent AI technology from further inflaming social tensions. While acknowledging that in some instances, AI integration will enhance productivity for workers, she cautioned that in other cases, AI’s ability to perform tasks currently handled by humans could lead to decreased demand for labour, impacting wages and potentially eliminating jobs.
The IMF projects that the technology will affect 26% of jobs in low-income countries. Ms. Georgieva emphasised that many of these nations lack the necessary infrastructure or skilled workforce to harness AI benefits, raising concerns about the technology worsening inequality among nations.
The analysis suggests that higher-income and younger workers may see disproportionate increases in wages after adopting AI, while lower-income and older workers might face challenges. To mitigate these effects, Ms. Georgieva stressed the importance of countries establishing comprehensive social safety nets and offering retraining programmes for vulnerable workers, making the AI transition more inclusive, and curbing inequality.
The discussion around AI has intensified globally, with the World Economic Forum in Davos being a focal point. AI faces increasing regulation worldwide, as seen in the European Union’s provisional deal on comprehensive laws to regulate AI use. However, global leaders, including the US, UK, and China, have yet to publish their own AI guidelines.