Thursday, June 20, 2024

Women more exposed to jobs impact of AI, says Government

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Women in the Republic are expected to be more exposed to the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs, analysis by two Government departments has suggested, due to the over-representation of men in roles and industries considered less likely to be affected by the technology’s adoption.

The research, part of a series of three papers by the Department of Finance and the Department of Enterprise published on Tuesday, is the Government’s first attempt to assess the benefits and potential economic pitfalls of the rapidly evolving technology.

While the timeline for AI adoption across the wider economy remains uncertain, the research suggests that one-third of the workforce here are currently working in roles considered “highly exposed” to AI.

Where previous advances in automation were focused on replacing repetitive manual tasks, the research assumes AI tools will be eventually be able to replace certain “cognitive” skills.

Around 33 per cent of workers – including those in the legal profession, medicine, librarians and others – are considered to be working in highly exposed industries where AI could complement their existing roles, according to the report.

However, around 30 per cent – including accountants, communication operators, administrators and secretarial workers among others – are working in areas with “weak complementarity”, where AI could eventually replace jobs.

Women are slightly more exposed to this impact, according to the research, largely because men are over-represented in industries like construction and agriculture where the jobs impact is likely to be weaker.

The research, based on figures from 2021 before the rise of generative AI models like ChatGPT, stresses that there are a number of important and open-ended questions around the economic impact of AI.

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