Rising Artificial Intelligence & the Threat to Emerging Economies


A venture capitalist specialising in Chinese markets has released a report stating that the biggest threat to human jobs posed by the rise in Artificial Intelligence isn’t numerical and repetitive professions such as those in accounting or factories; rather those in developing economies like China and India.

The Threat to Emerging Economies

In China, they use their large population and low costs to leverage themselves high in the global economy by providing manual and labour intensive manufacturing. They then have the potential to work their way up the value chain by producing higher quality and more technology-intensive products and services.

India has an economic edge in a similar way yet different method of combining a widely English-speaking population with a low cost living which has in turn become a hub for outsourcing low-end, office-type jobs in fields such typically considered to be white-collar such as business development outsourcing and software testing.

Unfortunately for emerging economies, computers and artificial intelligence prospers at performing exactly these types of jobs.

The Positives to Artificial Intelligence

Computers and robots are dramatically accelerating the automation of factories, taking over routine tasks such as customer service roles and number crunching in a much faster, more accurate manner.

Artificial Intelligence completes jobs much cheaper than the low-wage workers of the developing world and as technology advances, AI will ultimately result in doing them better.

Additionally, robots creating computers and cars don’t need to take annual leave; Artificial Intelligence customer-service staff members don’t need to have quarterly reviews or have to receive additional bonus pay.

How to Find a Balance Between the Two Economies

That requires a two-pronged approach that addresses education. For the large population of less-educated employees in developing countries such as India and China, can start to establish a niche of human-based service industries that require necessary human choices.

Even the best robots can’t give hotel guests warm hospitality or resolve complex issues that require human thought and touch. The following industries can bring poorer nations into a harmonising relationship with the technological superpowers:

  • Tourism & hospitality.
  • Culture & the arts.
  • Call centres & telephone roles.
  • Old peoples home employees.

So, a lot can be said in favour and against the rise in AI; however all is not lost for those in numerical positions, blue-collar roles and also those in third country nationals.