Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys, ILO believes

The director general of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Gilbert Houngbo, affirmed that the advancement of artificial intelligence is "unstoppable"but warned that technology often creates more jobs than it destroys.

"Artificial intelligence is unstoppable. We have to accept that it will go further and further. But generally speaking, technological and digital advances often create more jobs than are destroyed. we know that"Houngbo told EFE by phone, on the sidelines of his first visit to Brazil since taking office last year.

Houngbo pointed out that the "challenge" What artificial intelligence poses to governments is the development of strategies aimed at offering training opportunities to workers who face the threat of losing their job, so that they can opt for other jobs "quality".


And technological innovations are just one of the ingredients that have fueled uncertainties in the labor market and have exacerbated inequalities and informality, warns Houngbo.

"If we look at the data, three years after the start of the pandemic, inequalities are increasing. 4 billion people, half the population, lack any type of social protection. In many cases, they do not have equal opportunities in their lives"he commented.

To combat these inequities, the ILO intends to promote a "global coalition for social justice"whose launch will take place next June during the World Labor Conference, to be held in Geneva.

The global coalition, Houngbo explained, will try to ensure that social commitments have "the same momentum as climate change" on the global agenda.

The head of the ILO traveled to Brazil precisely to ask President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to join this global coalition.

In relation to Brazil, Houngbo pointed out that the social agenda of the Lula government is "very aligned" with these objectives and predicted that the South American country will be "one of the main champions" global social policies.

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The scourge of slave labor

One of the chapters in which Brazil is giving "big steps" it is the fight against slave labor, Houngbo pointed out, although the country is still pending the ratification of the ILO protocol against slave labor, from 2014.

Houngbo asked "not only to Brazil, but to the whole world" the signing of this agreement, which has already been ratified by 59 countries and has been in force since 2016, and which is a key instrument to combat modern slavery.

In the first quarter of this year, the Brazilian authorities have rescued 918 workers subjected to conditions similar to slavery, a record number in fifteen years.

Most of them are peasants employed on plantations, where they are subjected to exhausting hours and receive miserable wages, which sometimes do not even cover the cost of accommodation, where they are kept in unsanitary conditions.


The ILO director also warned that there are "uncertainties" that can threaten job creation in Latin America, after the region has taken steps in the economic recovery after the pandemic.

Among several factors that worry the ILO, he cited the high inflation and high interest rates that some countries have placed to try to control prices, and that have caused a cooling in the labor market.

However, Houngbo stressed that in developing countries it is particularly important not to focus on the number of jobs created, but on "the quality perspective".

In this sense, he pointed out that in Latin America, the average level of unemployment (7.2%) is lower than the time before the pandemic, but, nevertheless, the covid "erased" the progress made in recent years in the fight against labor informality, which has increased.

And it’s important, Houngbo stressed, "dignify" the worker and provide him with a minimum of social and health protection.

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