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Economics of Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Work

Author

Listed:
  • Ernst Ekkehardt
  • Merola Rossana
  • Samaan Daniel

    (Research Department, International Labour Organisation, Route des Morillons 4, 1211Geneva, Switzerland)

Abstract

The current wave of technological change based on advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) has created widespread fear of job loss and further rises in inequality. This paper discusses the rationale for these fears, highlighting the specific nature of AI and comparing previous waves of automation and robotization with the current advancements made possible by a widespread adoption of AI. It argues that large opportunities in terms of increases in productivity can ensue, including for developing countries, given the vastly reduced costs of capital that some applications have demonstrated and the potential for productivity increases, especially among the low skilled. At the same time, risks in the form of further increases in inequality need to be addressed if the benefits from AI-based technological progress are to be broadly shared. For this, skills policies are necessary but not sufficient. In addition, new forms of regulating the digital economy are called for that prevent further rises in market concentration, ensure proper data protection and privacy, and help share the benefits of productivity growth through the combination of profit sharing, (digital) capital taxation, and a reduction in working time. The paper calls for a moderately optimistic outlook on the opportunities and risks from AI, provided that policymakers and social partners take the particular characteristics of these new technologies into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernst Ekkehardt & Merola Rossana & Samaan Daniel, 2019. "Economics of Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Work," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-35, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:izajlp:v:9:y:2019:i:1:p:35:n:4
    DOI: 10.2478/izajolp-2019-0004
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ivanov, Stanislav Hristov & Webster, Craig & Stoilova, Elitza & Slobodskoy, Daniel, 2020. "Biosecurity, crisis management, automation technologies, and economic performance of travel, tourism and hospitality companies – a conceptual framework," SocArXiv 2hx6f, Center for Open Science.
    2. Marco Capasso & Michael Spjelkavik Mark, 2021. "The Evolving Economic Employment of ICT Education: The Case of Norway," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(15), pages 1-18, July.
    3. Ivanov, Stanislav Hristov & Kuyumdzhiev, Mihail & Webster, Craig, 2020. "Automation fears: drivers and solutions," SocArXiv jze3u, Center for Open Science.
    4. Damioli, Giacomo & Van Roy, Vincent & Vertesy, Daniel & Vivarelli, Marco, 2021. "Will the AI revolution be labour-friendly? Some micro evidence from the supply side," MERIT Working Papers 2021-016, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Naudé, Wim, 2020. "From the Entrepreneurial to the Ossified Economy: Evidence, Explanations and a New Perspective," GLO Discussion Paper Series 539, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Damioli, Giacomo & Van Roy, Vincent & Vertesy, Daniel & Vivarelli, Marco, 2021. "May AI Revolution Be Labour-Friendly? Some Micro Evidence from the Supply Side," IZA Discussion Papers 14309, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Stanislav Ivanov, 2020. "The impact of automation on tourism and hospitality jobs," Information Technology & Tourism, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 205-215, June.
    8. Carbonero, Francesco. & Ernst, Ekkehard & Weber, Enzo., 2018. "Robots worldwide the impact of automation on employment and trade," ILO Working Papers 995008793402676, International Labour Organization.
    9. Barbieri, Laura & Mussida, Chiara & Piva, Mariacristina & Vivarelli, Marco, 2019. "Testing the employment and skill impact of new technologies: A survey and some methodological issues," GLO Discussion Paper Series 397, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    10. José L. Torres & Pablo Casas, 2020. "Automation, Automatic Capital Returns, and the Functional Income Distribution," Working Papers 2020-02, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.
    11. Stanislav Hristov Ivanov & Craig Webster & Elitza Stoilova & Daniel Slobodskoy, 2022. "Biosecurity, crisis management, automation technologies and economic performance of travel, tourism and hospitality companies – A conceptual framework," Tourism Economics, , vol. 28(1), pages 3-26, February.
    12. Min-Hyuk Cho & Chan-Goo Yi, 2022. "Adaptive Social Innovation Derived from Digital Economy and Its Impact on Society and Policy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(6), pages 1-20, March.
    13. Peter Waring & Azad Bali & Chris Vas, 2020. "The fourth industrial revolution and labour market regulation in Singapore," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 31(3), pages 347-363, September.
    14. Giacomo Damioli & Vincent Van Roy & Daniel Vertesy & Marco Vivarelli, 2021. "Detecting the labour-friendly nature of AI product innovation," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Politica Economica dipe0017, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    15. Hernán Vallejo, 2021. "Not all Giffen Goods, are Inferior Goods," Documentos CEDE 019138, Universidad de los Andes – Facultad de Economía – CEDE.
    16. Narasimha D. Reddy, 0. "Future of Work and Emerging Challenges to the Capabilities of the Indian Workforce," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 0, pages 1-26.
    17. Mutascu, Mihai, 2021. "Artificial intelligence and unemployment: New insights," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 653-667.
    18. Abiodun Olusola Omotayo & Abeeb Babatunde Omotoso & Saidat Adebola Daud & Oluwadara Pelumi Omotayo & Babatunde Afeez Adeniyi, 2022. "Rising Food Prices and Farming Households Food Insecurity during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Policy Implications from SouthWest Nigeria," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 12(3), pages 1-20, March.
    19. Duch-Brown, Néstor & Gomez-Herrera, Estrella & Mueller-Langer, Frank & Tolan, Songül, 2022. "Market power and artificial intelligence work on online labour markets," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(3).
    20. Gassmann, Franziska & Martorano, Bruno, 2019. "The future of work and its implications for social protection and the welfare state," MERIT Working Papers 2019-039, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    21. Jean-Philippe Deranty & Thomas Corbin, 2022. "Artificial Intelligence and work: a critical review of recent research from the social sciences," Papers 2204.00419, arXiv.org.
    22. Olesya Dudnik & Marina Vasiljeva & Nikolay Kuznetsov & Marina Podzorova & Irina Nikolaeva & Larisa Vatutina & Ekaterina Khomenko & Marina Ivleva, 2021. "Trends, Impacts, and Prospects for Implementing Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Energy Industry: The Implication of Open Innovation," JOItmC, MDPI, vol. 7(2), pages 1-27, June.
    23. Narasimha D. Reddy, 2020. "Future of Work and Emerging Challenges to the Capabilities of the Indian Workforce," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 63(2), pages 199-224, June.
    24. Ivanov, Stanislav & Kuyumdzhiev, Mihail & Webster, Craig, 2020. "Automation fears: Drivers and solutions," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    artificial intelligence; technological unemployment; inequality; productivity growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O00 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General - - - General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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