By Alicia Diaz | Bloomberg

Artificial intelligence will affect almost 40% of global jobs, with advanced economies facing greater exposure than emerging markets and low-income countries, according to an International Monetary Fund analysis.

“In most scenarios, AI will likely worsen overall inequality, a troubling trend that policymakers must proactively address to prevent the technology from further stoking social tensions,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a blog post on the study.

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AI’s income inequality effect will largely depend on how much the technology complements high earners. More productivity from high-income workers and companies would boost capital returns, widening the wealth gap, Georgieva said. Countries should provide “comprehensive social safety nets” and retraining programs for vulnerable workers, she said.

While there’s potential for AI to fully replace some jobs, the more likely scenario is that it’ll complement human work, according to the analysis. Advanced economies may have about 60% of jobs affected, more than emerging and low-income countries.

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Georgieva’s take on artificial intelligence coincides with the meeting of global business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where AI is a topic of discussion.

Companies have been throwing cash at the emerging technology, sometimes sparking concern among employees about the future of their roles. One example is Buzzfeed Inc., which announced plans to use AI to help with content creation and closed its core news department, laying off more than 100 staffers.

The European Union reached a tentative deal in December on legislation setting out safeguards on AI, while the US is still weighing its federal regulatory stance.

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