The IMF’s AI Report: Overly Pessimistic?

A recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that AI will affect almost two out of every five jobs done by humans around the world. AI of course will impact work that is already somewhat or totally automated.

Growing use of AI will also impact white collar jobs, information tech areas, and even rural life on farms. Still, the same report suggests that AI might worsen inequality. However, that may miss how AI can improve outcomes outside of just wealth.

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First, it’s important to consider where AI’s impact will be most felt. Inequality between the world’s richest nations and its poorest nations may not grow as much as inequality within nations. For example, the IMF’s report projects a 60% impact for artificial intelligence on advanced economies, whereas less developed economies would see much less immediate impact.

Still, one can’t ignore that AI’s productivity increases may benefit some workers but not others if artificial intelligence access becomes too attached to existing income disparities. What that misses out on are the positive externalities of AI around the world.