ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Front. Artif. Intell.
Sec. AI in Business
doi: 10.3389/frai.2022.886561

The AI trilemma: Saving the planet without ruining our jobs

  • 1International Labour Organization, Switzerland
Provisionally accepted:
The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

Digitalisation and artificial intelligence affect more and more areas of the world of work. Rising risk of massive job losses have sparked technological fears. Limited income and productivity gains concentrated among a few tech companies are fuelling inequalities. In addition, the increasing ecological footprint of digital technologies has become the focus of much discussion. This creates a trilemma of rising inequality, low productivity growth and high ecological costs brought by technological progress. How can this trilemma be resolved? Which digital applications should be promoted specifically? And what should policymakers do to address this trilemma? This contribution shows that policymakers should create suitable conditions to fully exploit the potential in the area of network applications (transport, information exchange, supply, provisioning) in order to reap maximum societal benefits that can be widely shared. This requires shifting incentives away from current uses towards those that can, at least partially, address the trilemma. The contribution analyses the scope and limits of current policy instruments in this regard and discusses alternative approaches that are more aligned with the properties of the emerging technological paradigm underlying the digital economy. In particular, it discusses the possibility of institutional innovations required to address the socio-economic challenges resulting from the technological innovations brought about by artificial intelligence.

Keywords: sustainability, Articial intelligence, Inequality, productivity, jobs

Received: 28 Feb 2022; Accepted: 12 Aug 2022.

Copyright: © 2022 Ernst. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Ekkehard Ernst, International Labour Organization, Geneva, Switzerland