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Women's jobs will suffer most as AI takes hold: Lagarde

Filed on February 10, 2019 | Last updated on February 10, 2019 at 04.55 pm

(AFP)

Lagarde said with the right focus, things will settle and the economy will pick up.

To break the potential downward spiral caused by the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, the world needs political determination for the common good, according to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We need a strong willingness to deal with the change head on. All parties, governments, need to come to the table to resolve the issues related to four key areas: trade tensions, financial tightening, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and the accelerated slow down of China's economy," she said.

In a conversation at the World Government Summit 2019, Lagarde said the economy is growing at a slower pace than normal because of these "four clouds".

Looking to the future with what she described as "desperate optimism", Lagarde said with the right focus, things will settle and the economy will pick up.

"When too many clouds form, it only takes one bolt of lightning to stop a storm. So countries, prepare yourself, implement better governance and transparency so if a storm hits you are strong and solid at home." 

Pitting "governance and transparency" as the key factors to better economic growth, Lagarde said one issue that needs to be addressed is dissolving corruption.

"Corruption has a huge impact on growth. It corrodes trust and trust is at the heart of economic relationships. The more corruption, the slower the growth. Any leader interested in growth needs to make sure good governance is in place."

And with technology now aiding transparency and communication of information, she said "Mr Nobody knows a lot about you, your state and how a budget is organised". And failure to take that into account will be the demise of a country's economy.

"People will have an understanding and information about your practice and if they feel the trust broken it will matter. It will impact your growth."

Interestingly, and rather alarmingly, Lagarde also highlighted some worrying facts related to AI and its direct impact on women's role in society.

"In the UAE, women are promoted, encouraged. A large number of tech graduates here (70 per cent) are women. That is great, but AI and this fourth industrial revolution will have a more severe impact on women than men."

But why? Simply because many of the tasks done by women are more routines tasks, easily substituted by technology, she said.

Going forward, 11 per cent of women's jobs will be affected by technology in the future, where as that number sits at just nine per cent for men.

"This shift will happen gradually. But one thing is for sure, the future of work will be different, particularly for women." 

Concluding, Lagarde said what tomorrow will give us is "tech and big changes". And while that will bring with it challenges, it will create opportunities too.

However, there is no doubt jobs will be impacted dramatically, and overall, it's jobs that impact people's wellbeing. How government embrace technology all while continuing to give people value in the workplace will be crucial to economic growth.

kelly@khaleejtimes.com

author

Kelly Clarke

Originally from the UK, Kelly Clarke joined Khaleej Times in November 2012. She has a keen interest in humanitarian issues and took over as the dedicated Education Reporter in August 2016. In her spare time she loves to travel off the beaten track, and often write about her quirky experiences of pastures new. Kelly received her BA Honours in Journalism from Middlesex University, UK in 2008. Before joining Khaleej Times she worked as a Supervising Editor for three Healthcare titles in London. @KellyAnn_Clarke


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