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30% of jobs in Portugal “threatened” by AI

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The launch of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022 took the discussion around the impact of artificial intelligence on economies and societies to another level. Since then, much has been speculated about the number of jobs that will disappear and also those that will be created in the coming years.

Last year, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) surveyed more than 2,000 companies and 5,300 workers in the manufacturing and financial sectors of seven OECD countries, and found that workers say they artificial intelligence can improve work, but they fear it could threaten their jobs and wages, according to a report by ECO.

In the “OECD Employment Outlook 2023” report, the OECD reveals that three out of five workers are concerned about losing their job to artificial intelligence in the next ten years; and that two in five workers express concerns that their wages could decline over the next ten years as a result of the robotisation of the economy.

“Taking into account the effect of artificial intelligence, occupations most at risk of automation account for around 27% of employment,” writes Stefano Scarpetta, Director of the OECD’s Department for Employment, Labor and Social Affairs.

Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Sweden have the lowest percentages of employment in occupations most at risk of automation, while Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have the highest percentages. Portugal, according to OECD calculations, has around 30% of its jobs “threatened” by artificial intelligence.

Positive impacts

Despite all these concerns, the OECD report highlights that almost two thirds (about 63%) of workers say that artificial intelligence has brought a positive impact on the quality of their jobs. However, according to the OECD assessment, “the impact of artificial intelligence on employment levels has been limited to date and that, currently, it is not associated with any major changes in wages, positive or negative”.

As a point of concern for the adoption of more and more algorithms in the management of people’s and companies’ lives, the OECD study states that the use of artificial intelligence is generating an intensification of work in organizations and aggravating a series of social and economic problems.

“The constant and pervasive monitoring and data-driven performance appraisals enabled by artificial intelligence can create a high-stress environment with negative impacts on mental health, as workers can feel constantly scrutinized and under pressure to perform”, reads in the OECD report.

Ethical challenges

In addition, the OECD also points out that the use of artificial intelligence “raises serious ethical challenges in terms of data protection and privacy, transparency and explainability, prejudice and discrimination, automatic decision-making and accountability”.

The report highlights many real-world examples of artificial intelligence tools that have incorporated human biases against women, people with disabilities and ethnic or racial minorities. “In our survey, many workers expressed their concern about the possibility of artificial intelligence collecting data about them as individuals or about the way they do their work”, says Stefano Scarpetta.

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