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AI more likely to help workers than take their jobs: UN

August 22, 2023

A new report by the UN's International Labor Organization found that AI can help with certain duties rather than take over entire jobs. However, clerical workers remain exposed to full automation.

A robot in the foreground and a man in the background
AI is not a threat to most people's jobs, according to the International Labor OrganizationImage: Bastian/Caro/picture alliance

Artificial intelligence (AI) probably won't take over most people's jobs, but it will help automate certain duties, according to a United Nations study released on Monday.

Generative AI is capable of producing text, images, sounds, animation, 3D models and other data, which can potentially be used to complete or augment certain tasks.

"Most jobs and industries are only partially exposed to automation and are thus more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI," the report by the UN's International Labor Organization (ILO) said.

This means that "the most important impact of the technology is likely to be of augmenting work," it continued.

The ILO calculated that 5.5% of jobs in high-income countries are potentially exposed to automation by generative AI, compared to 0.4% of jobs in low-income countries.

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Clerical work most under threat

Nevertheless, the report found that clerical work was most at risk of being impacted by generative AI.

A quarter of tasks in clerical roles are highly exposed to potential automation, according to the ILO.

This would particularly impact women, especially in wealthier countries.

"Therefore, for policymakers, our study should not read as a calming voice, but rather as a call for harnessing policy to address the technological changes that are upon us," the ILO said.

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zc/jsi (Reuters, AFP)