Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Work

Monday, March 25, 2024, 10:00-11:00 Vienna time (CET)

Giovanni Melina, Deputy Division Chief, International Monetary Fund

Emanuel Gasteiger, Associate professor of macroeconomics,TU Wien

The webinar, presented by Giovanni Melina from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and moderated by Emanuel Gasteiger from TU Wien, delved into the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the global economy, with a particular focus on labor markets. 

The session presented a balanced view of AI's potential to reshape economies, the challenges posed by its adoption, and strategies for mitigating adverse effects while maximizing benefits.

It highlighted how AI is set to change the economic landscape, with advanced economies likely to feel the impact of AI both in terms of its benefits and challenges ahead of their emerging market and developing economy counterparts. This difference is attributed to the concentration of employment in cognitive-intensive roles in advanced economies.

Key takeaways from the presentation include the identification of certain patterns regarding AI exposure. Women and individuals with a college education are seen as more exposed to AI but also stand to benefit significantly from its advancements. In contrast, older workers might find it challenging to adapt to the rapid integration of new technologies. A crucial point of discussion was the impact of AI on income distribution. The presentation suggested that labor income inequality could widen if AI technologies predominantly complement high-income roles, further exacerbating wealth inequality through increased capital returns. However, there's a silver lining; substantial productivity gains driven by AI could potentially elevate income levels across a broad spectrum of workers.

For advanced economies and the more developed emerging markets, the webinar underscored the urgency of updating regulatory frameworks to better manage the AI transition. This involves supporting labor reallocation efforts and providing a safety net for those negatively impacted by these technological shifts. Meanwhile, for most emerging market and developing economies, the focus should be on building robust digital infrastructure and fostering digital skills among their populations to leverage the opportunities presented by AI. 

Giovanni Melina, Deputy Division Chief, International Monetary Fund


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