Published on November 16, 2023, 10:33 pm

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology’s rapid advancement has raised concerns globally, particularly in relation to job losses and the potential loss of control over AI systems. A recent study conducted by the Bank of Korea has shed light on South Korea’s job landscape, revealing that nearly four million jobs in the country could be at risk of being replaced by AI technology within the next two decades. This highlights the complex relationship between the adoption of AI, job displacement, and the emergence of new opportunities.

The study conducted by the Bank of Korea indicates that approximately 3.9 million jobs in South Korea are vulnerable as AI technology becomes more prevalent in the country. Among the professions most threatened by AI are doctors, lawyers, accountants, and chemists. These high-income roles with strong academic backgrounds are particularly exposed to AI technology due to its ability to handle analytical and cognitive tasks efficiently.

White-collar jobs, which are typically associated with advanced education and analytical skills, are particularly susceptible to disruption by AI technology. On the other hand, professions in religious fields, food services, and teaching are considered less vulnerable to displacement caused by AI.

While AI technology poses challenges for existing job roles, it also creates opportunities for new employment. Engineers specializing in AI system development and maintenance can expect increased demand for their skills. Additionally, individuals involved in AI-related start-ups have a promising future in these emerging roles. These new employment opportunities can provide a lifeline for those facing displacement from their current jobs.

However, there is a critical challenge highlighted by the Bank of Korea’s report. The new positions created by AI tend to be concentrated within specific fields, which may present difficulties for workers transitioning from one profession to another. Reskilling or upskilling may be necessary to match the requirements of these emerging roles.

As South Korea grapples with both job displacement and new job creation brought about by AI technology, policymakers face a delicate balancing act. The challenge lies in minimizing disruption to the workforce while harnessing the full potential of AI for economic growth.

The report from the Bank of Korea underlines the need for proactive measures to address the evolving job landscape in the era of AI. Policymakers, businesses, and educational institutions must collaborate to provide support for those affected by job displacement. This support could come in the form of reskilling programs, job placement initiatives, and fostering an environment conducive to AI-related entrepreneurship.

South Korea’s experience with AI-induced job disruption reflects a global concern. The impact of AI on the job market extends beyond borders, prompting governments and industries worldwide to explore strategies that mitigate job displacement while capitalizing on the benefits of AI innovation.

The study conducted by the Bank of Korea serves as a stark reminder of the transformative power of AI technology and its multifaceted impact on employment. While AI presents unprecedented opportunities for efficiency and innovation, it also challenges existing norms, necessitating proactive measures to ensure a smooth transition for the workforce. South Korea, along with many other nations, faces the imperative task of striking a balance between harnessing AI’s potential and safeguarding its citizens’ livelihoods in an AI-driven future.


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