Generative AI, according to a recent report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), may not replace the majority of current workers. Instead, its impact is expected to be limited to automating certain tasks for a minority of workers. The report, called “Generative AI and Jobs: A global analysis of potential effects on job quantity and quality,” acknowledges concerns about job losses due to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which has the ability to perform tasks that humans are typically paid for, such as creating text, generating images, and analyzing data.
But before we jump to conclusions, the report suggests that these concerns might be blown out of proportion. The researchers at ILO found that most workers are not at high risk of being replaced by AI. So, we don’t need to worry about machines taking over the world just yet.
According to the report, the main finding is that “most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and are thus more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI.” So, instead of completely replacing humans, AI is more likely to augment their work by automating certain tasks and leaving them with more time for other duties. It’s not about taking jobs away; it’s about enhancing the way we work.
However, clerical workers might be the ones who feel the biggest impact. The report states that clerical work is highly exposed to AI, with 24 percent of clerical tasks considered highly exposed and an additional 58 percent with medium-level exposure. This is a bit concerning, especially because women are over-represented in clerical work, especially in high and middle-income countries. So, there is a risk that certain clerical jobs may never emerge in lower-income countries due to the adoption of generative AI.
The adoption of generative AI will have a greater impact on workers in developed countries compared to those in low-income countries. The report estimates that 5.5 percent of total employment in high-income countries could be at risk of being partly automated, while only 0.4 percent in low-income countries face the same risk.
The researchers emphasize the need for policies to protect workers’ rights during the transition to generative AI. Without proper policies in place, the benefits of AI may only be realized by well-positioned countries and market participants, while the costs to affected workers could be severe. So, it’s crucial to ensure a fair and dignified transition.
In conclusion, generative AI is not here to steal our jobs. It’s here to enhance our work and transform industries. As the ILO report reminds us, work will still exist in this future, but we must be proactive in implementing policies that safeguard workers’ rights. After all, we want a future where work is fair and dignified for everyone.