The AI trilemma: Saving the planet without ruining our jobs

Dr. Ekkehard Ernst, International Labour Organization

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 gains 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. 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.

About the speaker

Ekkehard Ernst is Chief of the Macroeconomic Policies and Jobs unit at the International Labour Organization, where he analyses monetary, fiscal and trade policies and their impact on global employment, social and wage developments. His current focus lies on understanding trends in the Future of Work, where he develops scenarios on how technological innovations, demographic shifts and political vagaries might unfold in the world of work.

His work is widely published in both policy reports and academic studies. His most recent work discusses different policy options to address the socio-economic crisis resulting from the Covid?19 pandemic. He has also researched on the implications of artificial intelligence, robots and blockchain applications on the future of job, inequality and the transition to a sustainable society.

In 2017, Ekkehard co-founded Geneva Macro Labs to offer a platform to identify, develop and implement solutions to address global challenges and existential risks. Together with his team he brings together international thought leaders and practitioners to promote and advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda.

Previously, he worked at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Central Bank. Ekkehard Ernst has studied in Mannheim, Saarbrücken and Paris and holds a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He became an IZA Policy Fellow in July 2011.

Venue: via Zoom (please contact us at for the Zoom link)

Date: 11 February 2021

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CET