Artificial intelligence + basic income = Canadian innovation

Policy Options

The recent explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the workforce. ChatGPT reached 100 million users in just two months after its launch. It and other generative AI applications have the potential to increase the efficiency of more than 50 per cent of all worker tasks in the U.S., with no loss in quality. A recent report estimates that AI’s boost to labour productivity can increase annual global GDP by seven per cent over a 10-year period.

The widespread application of AI could, however, displace 300 million full-time jobs, especially those that involve writing, programming, routine repetitive work and information processing. For example, the work of journalists, writers, interpreters, analysts, accountants, software engineers and mathematicians could be reduced by at least 50 per cent.

Statistics Canada suggests that 40 per cent of Canadian workers are at a moderate or high risk of job transformation because of AI. In China alone, AI deployment could render over 50 million workers obsolete and in need of retraining. In the U.S., the figure is around 11.5 million.

AI will create tremendous wealth for some, but income loss for many more, and will likely exacerbate the problem of income inequality.

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