AI is more likely to improve the quality of jobs exposed to it than to erase positions en masse, according to an August study by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Rather than obsessing about jobs being eradicated, a more valid concern is what AI might do to the quality of work, including its intensity and workers’ autonomy, the ILO said.
Routine clerical jobs are the most endangered, the study found. Half of those tasks are likely to be taken in whole or part by AI.
In contrast, no more than a quarter of management, professional, and technical work is likely to succumb to AI, the study said.
In high-income countries, about 5.5 percent of the workforce will be automated out of a job, the study predicts. In low-income countries, where physical labor claims a much larger portion of jobs, only 0.4 percent of workers are at risk.
Women are at more than twice the risk of men because they make up a large portion of the clerical workforce, especially in more advanced economies. Because women traditionally fill clerical roles, AI deployed in emerging nations might deny women this traditional place in the labor force.
The study calls for workers to participate in companies’ decisions about adopting and deploying AI, reskilling programs for displaced workers, and strong, clear governance to keep AI from running amok.
The world also must take steps to ensure that the benefits of AI are widely shared among nations and that a handful of rich countries don’t reap most of the rewards at the expense of emerging nations, the ILO urged.
TRENDPOST: The ILO study reflects findings in a new U.K. investigation by the nonprofit Institute for the Future of Work.
AI can improve the quality of jobs and expand opportunities for workers, the report said, but that result requires not only training for workers but also building a stronger digital infrastructure. In addition, workers need to be involved in planning the ways in which a business will deploy AI if those workers are to accept AI as a partner.