AI Will Augment Jobs, Says ILO

The International Labour Organisation has said that generative Artificial Intelligence is more likely to augment than destroy jobs.

In its report titled “The study, Generative AI and Jobs”, it noted that AI will automate some tasks, rather than taking over a role entirely.

It highlighted a global analysis of potential effects on job quantity and quality and suggested that most jobs and industries were only partly exposed to automation and were more likely to be complemented, rather than substituted by the latest wave of Generative AI, such as chatGPT.

According to the report, the greatest impact of the technology was likely not to be job destruction, but rather, the potential changes to the quality of jobs, notably work intensity and autonomy.

ILO indicated that clerical work was found to be 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.

It explained that in other occupational groups, including managers, professionals, and technicians, only a small share of tasks was found to be highly exposed, while about a quarter had medium exposure levels.

The report also noted that the study, which was global in scope, documented notable differences in the effects on countries at different levels of development, linked to current economic structures and existing technological gaps.

Also, the report indicated that 5.5 per cent of total employment in high-income countries was potentially exposed to the automating effects of the technology, whereas in low-income countries, the risk of automation concerned only some 0.4 per cent of employment.

“The potential for augmentation is nearly equal across countries, suggesting that with the right policies in place, this new wave of technological transformation could offer important benefits for developing countries.

“The potential effects of Generative AI are likely to differ significantly for men and women, the study finds, with more than twice the share of female employment potentially affected by automation,” the report said.

According to ILO, this was due to women’s over-representation in clerical work, especially in high and middle-income countries.

It added that 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.

The report added that the socio-economic impact of Generative AI would largely depend on how its diffusion was managed.

It stressed the need to design policies that support an orderly, fair and consultative transition.

“Workers’ voice, skills training and adequate social protection will be key to managing the transition. Otherwise, there is a risk that only a few, well-prepared countries and market participants will benefit from the new technology,” the report said.