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Generative AI To Augment Jobs Not destroy Them

September 4, 2023 thehrobserver-hrobserver-GenAI-Jobs

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more likely to “augment” rather than destroy jobs by automating some tasks, a new study from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found.

The study, Generative AI and Jobs: A global analysis of potential effects on job quantity and quality, reports that most jobs and industries will be only partly exposed to automation and are more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by the latest wave of Generative AI, such as chatGPT.

The global study documents notable differences in the effects on countries at different levels of development which are linked to current economic structures and existing technological gaps. According to the study, 5.5% of total employment in high-income countries are potentially exposed to the automating effects of the technology, whereas in low-income countries, the risk of automation concerns only some 0.4% of employment.

Accordingly, clerical work is the category with the greatest technological exposure, with nearly a quarter of tasks considered highly exposed and more than half of tasks having medium-level exposure. With that being reported, the study finds that women are more likely to be affected by automation due to their over-representation in clerical work, especially in high and middle-income countries. 

“Since clerical jobs have traditionally been an important source of female employment as countries develop economically, one result of Generative AI could be that certain clerical jobs may never emerge in lower-income countries,” said the ILO in a statement. 

Meanwhile, other occupational groups  which include managers, professionals and technicians have only a small share of tasks to be highly exposed, while about a quarter have medium exposure levels to the technology. 

On the other hand, the potential for augmentation is nearly equal across countries, suggesting that with the right policies in place, Generative AI could offer important benefits for developing countries.  

The study reports that socioeconomic impacts of Generative AI will largely depend on how its diffusion is managed. Therefore, there needs to be policies that support an orderly, fair and consultative transition.

The authors note that the “outcomes of the technological transition are not pre-determined. It is humans that are behind the decision to incorporate such technologies and it is humans that need to guide the transition process.”

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