AI More Likely to Displace Workers in High Paying Jobs

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Photo Credits - Igor Omilaev via Unsplash

Individuals in high paying jobs are more likely to lose them to artificial intelligence (AI) than their lower-paid counterparts. That’s according to new findings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a United Nations (UN) agency. Below, we explore what the IMF analysis says and who it could affect. We also consider how AI could complement workers rather than replace them.

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60% of Jobs Affected by AI in Advanced Economies

The report by the IMF states that AI is likely to affect nearly 40% of jobs worldwide What’s more, advanced economies will see a more significant impact, with roughly 60% of jobs affected. This is because, unlike more straightforward automation, AI can complete much more complicated tasks, impacting high paying jobs.

READ: AI Might Be Able To Reduce Workforce’s Cognitive Overload

Comparatively, low-income countries will only see 26% of their jobs affected. However, despite AI putting advanced economies at greater risk of job displacement, the IMF explains they will be more able to leverage its benefits. As a result, whilst around 50% of those jobs affected could be negatively impacted, the other 50% could benefit. This is because they could integrate AI to increase productivity and wages, which low-income countries couldn’t do because of their lack of digital infrastructure. 

Are High Paying Jobs at Risk?

The analysis found those in high paying jobs are most likely to be displaced because of AI’s high intelligence. They also discovered that AI could “help less experienced workers enhance their productivity more quickly”. As such, one might believe wealth inequality will be addressed in certain countries.

However, the IMF went on to discuss how those in high paying jobs could see their large income grow even more. The successful integration of AI is more likely to improve workplace productivity, increasing business capital and benefitting those high-earners. 

Yet they aren’t the only ones who could benefit. Those who are able and willing to adapt to new technologies and learn new skills could also see their productivity and wages increase. Meanwhile, those lacking the ability, which may include the older generation, or digital infrastructure to enable AI to complement their work could miss out.

Therefore, despite initial thoughts that AI integration could reduce inequality, one might suggest that it actually amplifies the issue. With those capable of adapting and in high paying jobs embracing the benefits of AI, those from a lower income or struggling to adapt could see wealth inequality grow.

AI to Complement the Workforce, not Replace it

As AI grows in popularity with each passing year, more people have become concerned that their jobs are at risk. However, the above analysis demonstrates that this simply isn’t the case. Whilst advanced economies and those in high paying jobs appear most likely to be affected by AI, they also seem to be the ones that would benefit from it most.

In fact, the IMF’s analysis highlights that those willing and capable of adapting to AI will see the most considerable benefits. And this is a common trend that can be found elsewhere. Cynthia Breazeal, a robotics scientist, discussed how AI should be seen to complement workers rather than replace them. She also said, “Humans right now are just way better than any AI system on the social and emotional [level]”.

READ: Behind the Lens: Navigating Workplace Surveillance Laws for Remote Employees

Here, she outlined that whilst AI can analyse masses of data and complete complex tasks, it lacks a human’s creative and social skills. Moreover, Harvard Business Review research found that companies where humans and technology worked together saw the most significant performance improvements. So, rather than humans competing against AI, we should work with it.

High Paying Jobs Likely to Integrate AI

Whilst AI can complete repetitive and difficult tasks more quickly, humans can provide creativity and important decision-making. As a result, those in high paying jobs, like doctors, will likely use AI to improve their efficiency and accuracy but won’t be replaced by them. Doctors could use AI in their diagnosis, but ultimately, the ethical decision on how to proceed would be their own.

AI to displace high paying jobs
Photo Credits – National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

Therefore, with humans being complemented by AI, it’s unlikely that technology will replace us. Instead, those using AI will likely replace those that don’t.

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