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Full steam ahead for IDA as it steps on board the AI hype train

No place for scepticism in IDA Ireland’s labour market report as it hails potential of artificial intelligence

What a glowing assessment IDA Ireland has given to the potential offered by generative artificial intelligence (AI), which its new report on the labour market declares is poised to be “a catalyst for enhancing workforce productivity and Ireland’s competitiveness”.

It’s most likely right, of course. To preserve the GDP-propelling success of our multinational-dependent economy, Irish policymakers should probably ensure that the correct conditions are in place to allow significant employers based here – or thinking about locating here – to accelerate their collective pivot to AI.

Those conditions include having a workforce equipped to use generative AI for their own means and ends, rather than simply succumbing to fears about being replaced by it.

Still, some sensible sceptics might baulk at the confident notion that 60 per cent of Generation X workers – that’s the comfortably middle-aged segment of the labour market – are in occupations where generative AI can “complement or transform the work they do, freeing up their time for more value-added and creative work”. The transformation part, yes. The “more value-added and creative” part? We’ll see.


The IDA Ireland finding is based on data from more than two million LinkedIn members, with the same source of data also concluding that technology, information and media is the sector “with the greatest potential to harness generative AI tools and technologies”.

This bullish take would seem at odds with the stance of worker representative groups in the creative industries, who have warned that generative AI is already being exploited by employers to regurgitate their past collective endeavours, wrap them up in a shiny tech bow and save on the cost of human labour. Companies in these sectors, too, do have the odd concern about the use of AI by bad actors to effectively steal intellectual property.

There’s no place for such negativity, however, in IDA Ireland’s labour market report. This would be the same report that has been published in collaboration with Microsoft and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn. And that – in a more traditional method of “unlocking exciting new business opportunities” – would be the same Microsoft that has poured billions into ChatGPT developers OpenAI.

Sam Altman, co-founder and chief executive of OpenAI, has dubbed its relationship with Microsoft as “the best bromance in tech”. It’s a love-in that has clearly proven inspiring to strategists at IDA Ireland.