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ILO: Female clerical workers in developed countries could be hit hardest by Gen AI

A woman using a computer

A document published (and possibly withdrawn) by the Internation Labour Organization (ILO) has said that generative AI probably won’t take over everybody’s job. Instead, it said gen AI will automate a portion of their duties so they’re free to do other tasks.

We’ve heard this type of thing before, from the likes of Microsoft which has its Bing Chat AI powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and the aptly named 'Copilot', which suggest AI is there to help and not replace employees. One of the new details in this report, however, is that clerical work would likely be hit the hardest.

If this prediction comes to fruition, it could have a disproportionate impact on female employment as women are overrepresented in this sector, especially in developed countries. In high-income countries, 8.5% of female employment is in occupations with high automation potential while only 3.9% of male employment has high automation potential.

While the ILO said that most jobs won’t be replaced by AI, it has called for policy attention to ensure that any new jobs are of decent quality. It also called for mitigating the negative effects with social dialogue, workplace consultation, income support, and policies to advance gender equality.

It pointed out that ageing populations around the world will generate an increase in demand for the care sector. It said that displaced workers could potentially shift into this field but also pointed out that the quality of these jobs needs to be improved.

A few months ago, Neowin covered an incident where a 25-year-old copywriter who worked at a tech start-up gradually lost her job to ChatGPT. Olivia Lipkin said that since ChatGPT launched last November, her former managers started referring to her as Olivia/ChatGPT on Slack (very rude!) and in April, she was fired.

Nobody knows how the generative AI revolution is going to play out. At this point, it’s all pretty hyped up according to IDC but that doesn’t mean the technology won’t mature over the coming years and actually do harm to people’s employment.

Source: ILO via Reuters

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