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IMF chief says AI revolution hits labor market ‘like a tsunami’

The AI ​​revolution could have a significant negative impact on the global labor market, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Monday.

The IMF chief was giving a speech at the Swiss Institute of International Studies in Zurich, where she discussed the impact AI could have on job seekers.

“We have very little time to prepare people and businesses,” she said. “This could lead to a huge increase in productivity if we manage it well, but it can also lead to more misinformation and, of course, more inequality in our society.”

This is not the first time Georgieva has issued a warning to AI. In January, she wrote a blog post in which she predicted that AI would “affect nearly 40% of jobs worldwide.”

“About half of exposed jobs could benefit from AI integration, improving productivity. For the other half, AI applications can perform key tasks currently done by humans, which could reduce productivity. demand for labor, leading to lower wages and reduced hiring,” Georgieva wrote.

“In the most extreme cases, some of these jobs could disappear,” she continued.

IMF officials did not immediately respond to a BI request for comment sent outside normal business hours.

Georgieva’s warnings seem prescient, given new offerings this week from AI newcomers like OpenAI.

On Monday, OpenAI announced its latest flagship AI model, GPT-4o. The model, which will be made free to all users, “can reason through audio, vision and text in real time”, making it suitable for tasks such as teaching and translation.

Demos of the software have taken the internet by storm, reigniting concerns that AI could decimate the job market as we know it.

Even OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman has regularly warned people about AI’s potential impact on the job market. On May 7, Altman told participants at a Brookings Institution panel that people underestimate the impact of AI on the economy.

“GPT-4 didn’t have this huge detectable impact on the economy, so people were like, ‘Well, we were too worried about that, and that’s not a problem,'” Altman said , referring to the AI ​​model. that OpenAI released last year.

“I’m afraid we won’t take this issue seriously enough in the future, and it’s a very important problem,” he continued.

That said, some experts believe that the rise of AI will also provide different opportunities for job seekers.

In November, Annesh Raman, vice president of LinkedIn, said in a podcast interview that while AI would reduce the value of technical skills, it would also make soft skills more important.

“In the 1980s, when Microsoft launched Excel, people were petrified and said it would put all these accountants out of work. We have more accountants today than in the 1980s,” said Simon Lucey, director of the University of Adelaide. The Australian Institute for Machine Learning, told BI on Tuesday.


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