OECD finds 27% of jobs are under threat from AI

But people keeping jobs might find they are less boring, study shows

An international policy think-tank has found 27 percent of jobs are in occupations under threat from AI and other forms of automation.

Initial findings in research from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that while adoption of AI is still relatively low, rapid progress in the technology, falling costs and the increasing availability of workers with AI skills suggest economies might be “on the brink of an AI revolution.”

OECD secretary-general Mathias Cormann said: “Labor markets have shown remarkable resilience over the past year and remain tight, though high inflation and the rising cost of living has eroded real incomes.”

However, he said the recent acceleration of generative AI-related developments and tools marks a technological watershed with material implications in many workplaces.

“There is a real need to consider longer-term policy frameworks on the use of AI in the workplace and to continue to foster international cooperation to maximise the benefits while appropriately managing the downside risks,” Cormann said.

The report reckons high-skill occupations, despite being more exposed to recent progress in AI, were still at least risk of automation, while low and middle-skilled jobs are most at risk.

There was also an upside, though. The report found that AI can help reduce tedious and dangerous tasks, leading to greater worker engagement and physical safety.

But three in five workers is worried about losing their job entirely to AI in the next 10 years, and a similar share thought wages in their sector would decrease because of AI. Three in four workers say that AI has increased work pace and more than half are concerned about privacy, the survey found.

“Progress in AI has been such that, in some areas, its output has become indistinguishable from that of humans. While there are many potential benefits from AI, there are also significant risks that need to be urgently addressed. Policies and social dialogue can play a key role in mitigating these risks while not stifling the benefits,” author Stijn Broecke said.

The OECD called for international cooperation to ensure a common approach supports inclusive labour markets as AI continues to be introduced in economies around the world. ®

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