Women in Tech

Women at more risk of losing their jobs to AI

15th January 2024
Sheryl Miles

The swift integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into various sectors poses a significant risk of job losses, with women and disadvantaged groups being particularly vulnerable.

This concern has been highlighted in a new government report, shedding light on the potential gender disparities in the wake of AI advancements.

Authored by Ansh Bhatnagar, a research fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and Devyani Gajjar, a government digital sciences advisor, the report underscores the broad societal impact of AI. From daily applications to critical decision-making processes, AI's role is increasingly becoming integral. The report touches upon concerns such as security, privacy, transparency, liability, labour rights, intellectual property, and the spread of disinformation, noting their potential effects on democracy.

A striking observation is the absence of dedicated AI legislation in the UK, a gap that poses challenges in governing these rapidly evolving technologies. The research pinpoints the disproportionate impact of AI on disadvantaged groups. Clerical roles, predominantly occupied by women, are at a higher risk of becoming redundant due to AI-driven automation.

The report suggests that academia, think tanks, and technology trade associations advocate for government intervention. They recommend supporting workforce retraining and skill development programmes to mitigate the risks and ensure existing inequalities are not exacerbated.

The use of AI in office management, especially post-Covid-19 with the shift to remote and hybrid working models, has also increased. This includes surveillance of workers and AI applications in recruitment processes, such as CV screening.

John Kirk, Deputy CEO at ITG, comments on this trend: “The rapid pace of AI adoption will bring seismic changes to critical business functions like sales and marketing, accelerating productivity and empowering organisations to grow. However, the impact of these technologies on working practices must be carefully considered, with staff provided with the necessary tools and training they need to thrive in this new world of digital work.”

The future of women in tech, in light of these developments, is a subject of concern and debate. To counter the risk of job losses, there's a pressing need for strategic interventions. These could include enhanced education and training in tech-focused skills, fostering an inclusive tech culture, and implementing policies that ensure equitable AI development and deployment. By taking these steps, we can work towards a future where AI becomes a tool for empowerment rather than a barrier, especially for women and underrepresented groups in the technology sector.

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