Artificial intelligence and women

Gauri Chhabra
Women get both a position and a promotion. Courtesy, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning ruling the roost. Recently, the research firm Gartner predicted that artificial intelligence may actually create more jobs than it’s expected to eliminate. By 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) will generate 2.3 million jobs, exceeding the 1.8 million that it will wipe out, In the following five years to 2025, net new jobs created in relation to AI will reach 2 million. The new spiral wave of jobs would require an augmenting, upskilling and repositioning of the current skills and mindsets needed to survive and thrive. Well, they may generate a plethora of jobs that gravitate towards women. Women can reposition and future proof their careers by getting into AI and ML because these new technologies are going to stay for quite some time.
Skill required to stay afloat
In order to remain relevant in the new world of work, we’ll need to lean in to the skills that make us most human. Creativity, problem solving, interpersonal. As automation stealthily slides in, fields that interact with machines such as construction work, factory work, and machine operation are becoming the tortoise in the game, while occupations that place a premium on interpersonal skills, like those in the healthcare field, are seeing explosive growth.
In conversation with Venkatesh Sankaran, CEO and founder, Saguna Consulting Services LLC, a management consulting and technology services firm in Irvine, Southern California that does a lot of work in AI and ML in Healthcare and has offices in India. He said. In this era of Artificial Intelligence, being intelligent is a given and is not just enough. AI has the capacity to be smarter than us. In order to stay afloat, we need to be more smart than just being ‘smart’. More than the quantity of data our mind can comprehend, we need to focus on the quality of our thinking. In other words, we need to be Emotionally Intelligent. The numbers that would work in our favor would be our EQ rather than our IQ. All these skills are essentially feminine in nature.Automation could bring about a moment of reckoning for EI skills, which have a long history of being undervalued by the labor market.And that might just mean a moment of reckoning for “pink collar,” or women’s work.’’ He further said “AI and ML also takes away the discrimination aspect. The so called physical endurance that man had and gave him a slight air of superiority would also go away as drones and robots take over jobs in difficult terrains. It is no more about a man giving an opportunity. It is going to be a female world leading to enhanced performances since discrimination would crumble. In some sectors like technology, strategic healthcare, Govt and military,the percentage of women has been slim. With AI and ML creeping in, the women would increase especially in Healthcare which needs skills like caring and mothering.’’
Studies say it all
Decades of research show unequivocally that men and women are equal in general intelligence (IQ), but that isn’t the case when it comes to emotional intelligence (EQ). There are subtle, and not so subtle, differences in men’s and women’s expression and understanding of emotions that must be explored and understood.
The research, conducted by the Korn Ferry Hay Group, used data from 55,000 professionals in 90 countries and found that in 11 of 12 “emotional intelligence competencies” women out performed men. The only category in which women didn’t receive the better scores was “emotional self-control,” where no gender differences were found.
Recently, researchers at Google came to a similar conclusion in a quest to discover what makes the perfect team. They found that groups tend to innovate faster than an individual working alone. But the most important factor in whether a team would be successful was “psychological safety,” a term that describes a team climate of trust and respect where people feel comfortable being themselves. A team like this might excel at traits like ”conversational turn-taking” and ”social sensitivity.”The research suggests that the increasing demand for interpersonal skills is something that favors women. If we think that AI will increase the need for social skills-then this may be beneficial for women, because they really have a sustainable comparative advantage there.
No generalizations
Having said all of that, let us also not fall into the trap of generalizations and stereotypes. This does not suggest that every woman has a higher EQ than man. A scientific study on gender and emotional intelligence is not a justification to peddle gender stereotypes. Even though research overwhelmingly points to women having greater EI, science hasn’t determined that these qualities are innate. It is just that women tend to pick up these traits due to their conditioning in the society that expects them to be humble and caring.
Mayank Chhabra, CEO White Space Technologies, an IT startup in New Delhi says,”A startup founder needs a high EI in order to use a missed business goal to motivate his team. The ability to listen, collaborate, empathize, and self-regulate are all part of an emotionally intelligent person’s nature. I always feel the need for a woman’s mind while talking to my team”.
Summing up
Devrath Saha, a student of B.Tech Computer Science Engineering, Alliance University, Bangalore sums it up this way,”Creativity is a fundamental feature of human intelligence, and a challenge for AI.
AI techniques can be used to create new ideas in three ways: by producing novel combinations of familiar ideas;by exploring the potential of conceptual spaces;and by making transformations that enable the generation of previously impossible ideas. All these require skills of being creative which gravitate towards women.
Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this- technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, we will augment our intelligence”.
So far so good. The ‘female’ skills are very important to AI, whether it’s nurturing, mothering, caring, problem-solving, diplomacy, or critical thinking skills. It all looks so exciting. But I would also like to create a foundation for this feminine utopia. We need more women graduating out of our Computer Science colleges, more women in the corner offices and still more women at C level positions. It is not fair to dream of a female version of the world without actually encouraging women to be a part of building it.
Only then we can safely say, the future is female…