Generative AI Can Automate As Many As 75 Million Jobs Globally, ILO Study Finds

This image represents the shift of jobs from humans to AI

Over the past couple of months, AI (artificial intelligence) has extended its grip everywhere. From the smartphones that we use to the cars that we drive, AI has taken center stage among all fields of technology. Not only that, you have unknowingly been using AI in your daily life in some way or the other. Now, the biggest question that people are asking is — “Will AI replace humans and take over our jobs?” If this is something you are concerned about, have a look at what the International Labor Organization (ILO) has to say with regard to this.

75 Million Global Jobs At Risk of Automation

The ILO, in its latest generative AI assessment report, has revealed that AI holds the potential to significantly disrupt the job market of the future. It suggests that AI will play a significant role in the way work is done moving forward. However, ILO believes that this will be much more collaborative in nature rather than being a replacement for humans.

This image represents the automation and augmentation statistics for the number of global jobs for both men and women
Source: ILO

The data published by ILO reveals that almost 75 million jobs will be affected by automation in some way or the other. This means that AI holds the capability to potentially serve as a replacement for almost 70 million people globally, both men and women.

On the other hand, the data has also revealed that almost 427 million jobs hold potential for augmentation. This means AI has the potential to change the “quality, intensity, and autonomy” of jobs by working hand-in-hand with humans to create a digitally capable and technologically progressive future for everyone. Recently, we also wrote about the jobs that might be replaced by AI chatbots like ChatGPT in the future.

Women at Higher Risk of Automation Compared to Men

I think the biggest revelation of this study lies in the fact that this AI transition is highly gendered in nature. The study has revealed that almost 21 million jobs held by women stand at risk of automation in high-income countries. This is more than double the number of jobs held by men in high-income countries that face risks of automation. The same is true for women in countries with upper-middle income, lower-middle income, and low income.

This image represents the total number of jobs that will be at risk of automation for both men and women
Source: ILO

Now, you may ask why women in particular face the risks of automation in this magnitude. The reason is the overrepresentation of women in clerical jobs. The majority of the women-held positions that face automation risks are clerical in nature. This is because, for most high-income and upper-middle-income countries, the major source of women empowerment and employment has been in the form of clerical jobs. As a result, this gendered effect in the incoming technological transition will either severely affect women or pave the way for women’s empowerment.

So, What’s Next for Us with Respect to AI?

This is a frightening prospect for most of you, but the reality is this is the reality we are already living in now. AI is slowly taking over our lives and our jobs as well. According to the ILO report, AI can soon replace the need for human typists, travel consultants, scribes, contact center information clerks, bank tellers, and survey & market research interviewers. Also, a large part of this impending effect of automation will depend on the country you are in and the income group you fall under.

This image represents the data for the job roles that stand a risk for automation and augmentation
Source: ILO

In low-income countries, only 0.4% of positions held by humans face risks of automation. While, in the flip side, ~5.5% of the positions held by humans in high-income countries also face risks of automation. The true glimmer of hope is for people employed in developing countries. The gradual shift to an automated future can provide significant skill development opportunities to people in developing countries only if they can employ relevant mitigation measures for the negative effects of automation.

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