Generative AI, according to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), won’t replace most workers. In fact, the impact of generative AI will likely be limited to automating certain tasks for a minority of workers. The ILO, which sets work standards for the United Nations, released a report titled “Generative AI and Jobs: A global analysis of potential effects on job quantity and quality.” This report addresses concerns about job losses due to the development of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can create text, images, and analyze data.
But don’t worry, because the ILO’s researchers found that most workers aren’t at high risk of being replaced by AI. The report’s main finding is that automation will only partially affect jobs and industries, serving more as a complement rather than a substitute for human work. Anyone who’s used generative AI knows that machines just can’t do all the work required in most roles.
However, clerical workers may feel the impact of generative AI more significantly. The report states that clerical work is highly exposed to AI technology, with 24 percent of clerical tasks considered highly exposed and an additional 58 percent with medium-level exposure. This is particularly concerning for women, as they are over-represented in clerical work, especially in high and middle-income countries.
The adoption of generative AI in developed countries means that workers in these nations are more likely to experience the impact of this technology. The report estimates that 5.5 percent of total employment in high-income countries may be at risk of being partly automated, compared to just 0.4 percent in low-income countries.
The researchers emphasized the importance of defining policies to protect workers’ rights as industries adjust to generative AI. Without proper policies in place, only well-positioned countries and market participants will be able to benefit from this transition, leaving affected workers in a difficult situation. The ILO report concludes by urging the development and promotion of policies that prioritize fair and dignified work.