A recent study (21 August) by the UN’s International Labour Organisation has found that women may be disproportionately at higher risk of having their jobs automated by AI.
Overall, the paper found that AI would not end human labour but rather creates a future where work is “transformed”.
Clerical work was identified as the sector that would see the biggest impact from generative AI. The UN stresses that this is not necessarily negative, as generative AI has just as much potential to augment clerical work as it does to automate it.
However, a quarter of clerical tasks examined in the study had the potential to be fully automated.
Not only does this run the risk of job displacement for women, who have traditionally filled these roles according to the UN, but it could lead to this type of work never emerging in lower income countries.
The study explains that many clerical jobs have acted as “a vehicle for increasing female employment”.
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Balancing AI augmentation and automation will undoubtedly have a “strongly gendered effect” on the job market according to the paper’s authors. Whilst a badly managed technological transition to generative AI could disproportionately harm women, the paper does reaffirm that a well-managed transition could create “important opportunities” for women in the workplace.
The study also calls for better management of the jobs that will be created to ensure the development of AI itself.
AI’s development hinges on repetitive tagging and feedback tasks, as well as content moderation of the data it is trained on.
According to GlobalData’s job analytics, active job postings that mention generative AI have increased by 120% in the last four months.
From 15 May, 2023 to 14 August, 2023, active job postings have increased from 1,406 to 3,118. The biggest hiring countries were the US, India and Canada.
In a recent GlobalData survey over 52% of businesses have stated that even though they think generative AI is hyped, they do recognise potential use cases for the technology. GlobalData also found that the most common use cases for AI were in accounting, marketing and customer service jobs.
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