AI will be bad news for plenty of workers, warns IMF chief

  • AI is likely to worsen economic inequality, according to the IMF chief.
  • “If you’re unlucky, your job is gone,” Kristalina Georgieva told the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • Her warning comes as a survey by PwC finds CEOs are considering more layoffs this year.

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The rise of artificial intelligence is likely to trigger layoffs and increase economic inequality, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director warned on Tuesday.

Kristalina Georgieva said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos that AI will soon put some workers in developed economies out of a job.

“Sixty percent of jobs in advanced economies over a foreseeable future are going to be impacted by artificial intelligence,” she told Bloomberg TV.

“If you’re lucky, artificial intelligence will enhance your productivity, make your job more enjoyable, and very likely better paid. If you’re unlucky, your job is gone.”

The more fortunate workers will have their jobs enhanced and will make more money, Georgieva added, but there is “no social safety net” for the other group. “They’re going to be in trouble, and then across countries, inequality would grow.”

On Sunday, the IMF released an analysis that warned certain jobs could soon disappear due to AI tools taking over employees’ responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Georgieva’s warning came just a day after a survey by PwC found one in four CEOs think generative AI will lead to laying off at least 5% of their workforce this year.

Media and entertainment, banking, and insurance bosses were most likely to anticipate job cuts, the accounting firm said ahead of the WEF, an annual meeting of business leaders, politicians and investors held in Davos, the Swiss ski resort.

Later in her interview with Bloomberg TV, Georgieva predicted that the US economy is headed for a dream “soft landing” scenario, whereby inflation falls in line with the Federal Reserve’s 2% target without triggering a severe recession or a spike in unemployment.

“The Fed is going to be data-dependent,” she said in response to a question about when the central bank will start cutting interest rates. “But it is true that the world economy – and especially the US economy – has proven to be remarkably resilient.”

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George Glover