Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, warns that “in most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality”.
Ms Georgieva goes on to say that governments should address the “troubling trend” to “prevent technology from further stoking social tensions”.
The growth of AI has brought its benefits and risks to the forefront.
According to the IMF, AI is projected to effect a larger number of jobs in advanced economies, estimated to be approximately 60%. In half of these cases, workers may expect to profit from AI integration, which will increase their productivity.
In other cases, AI will be able to do important activities that are currently performed by people. This might reduce demand for labor, lowering salaries and possibly eliminating jobs.
Meanwhile, the IMF predicts that the technology would only effect 26% of jobs in low-income countries.
It echoes a Goldman Sachs analysis from 2023, which claimed that AI might replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs – but that there may also be new employment created as productivity increases.
She noted that “many of these countries don’t have the infrastructure or skilled workforces to harness the benefits of AI, raising the risk that over time the technology could worsen inequality among nations” .
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In general, higher-income and younger workers may receive a disproportionate boost in pay after implementing AI.
The IMF predicts that lower-income and older workers may lag behind.
“It is crucial for countries to establish comprehensive social safety nets and offer retraining programmes for vulnerable workers,” she said. “In doing so, we can make the AI transition more inclusive, protecting livelihoods and curbing inequality.”