Originally published at Daily Caller.
A new study from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has ruffled assumptions, asserting that “40% of global employment is exposed to AI.” The study also predicts that high-skilled jobs will bear the brunt of this transformation, disproportionately influencing roles that traditionally require higher education and professional experience.
Among advanced economies, the IMF estimates that the share of jobs affected by AI could be 60 percent. Half of them could benefit from increased productivity, and the other half hurt by replacement.
The IMF concludes that the impending shift should compel countries, particularly those well-prepared for AI integration like the U.S., to implement “robust regulatory frameworks.” They argue this would help cultivate a safe and responsible AI environment with safety nets to help those whose jobs are AI “vulnerable.”
But we don’t have to look too far back to realize how attempting to harness AI innovation and its results would be disastrous for people and prosperity.
The rise of AI presents a unique chance for society to better adapt to challenges and capitalize on new opportunities. Humanity has always adapted to new technological possibilities, turning most disruptions into positive outcomes.
For instance, dedicated professionals called “calculators” once performed complex calculations. With the emergence of pocket-sized calculators in 1971, the computing revolution began, showcasing the transformative potential of technological innovation.
Those human calculators, who would today be considered high-skilled, highly vulnerable individuals, went behind the machines and created and perfected better computational technologies. Whether or not they felt threatened by the technology, they adapted nevertheless and made their skills indispensable to the technology. As the electronic calculator removed much busy work, their minds were more available to focus on tasks machines couldn’t perform.
The emergence of health-related diagnostic tools like X-rays and MRIs did not render doctors less valuable but widened the breadth of their jobs. Tractors did not displace farmers but made aspects of the role significantly more accessible, allowing for higher output.
The examples of technology helping humans by making their jobs easier are endless.
High-skilled professionals facing AI exposure should view this revolution as an opportunity to learn and grow. Rather than advocating for regulatory barriers, individuals can proactively enhance their skills, pursue further education, earn certificates, or even explore career transitions.
The power of spontaneous order in free markets lies in allowing people to innovate when not restricted by government overreach. The IMF study’s conclusion urging countries to hurriedly embrace AI regulation overlooks the resilience and adaptability inherent in free societies.
Attempting to pause AI innovation is impractical in the face of rapid advancements by other nations. Our big tech competitors like China and the UAE will not inhibit progress with red tape, so why would we? We’ve already seen demonstrative instances.
Recall that in June 2023, Meta launched what was, at the time, the largest open-source language model ever, Llama 2. For almost two months after that, America was the global AI leader due to this technology, only to be eclipsed by the UAE government with their release of Falcon 180b, which has more than double the parameters of Llama 2.
In a matter of weeks, America lost its top spot in AI innovation. Imagine what would happen if we introduced more regulatory barriers, as suggested by the IMF, or required a pause in AI advancement, as suggested by Elon Musk and others last year.
It’s not just the U.S. reputation as a world leader at stake but our very security, as we could quickly be overtaken by nations who embrace the power of AI in technology, cybersecurity, and beyond.
To maintain leadership in the AI landscape, the U.S. must welcome disruptive changes and cultivate an environment encouraging competitiveness.
The future belongs to those who can adapt and innovate, and AI, as a tool created by humans, should be embraced rather than feared.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D.