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Brobots or nobots: the future of AI is a question of gender


Brobots or nobots: the future of AI is a question of gender

If ever there was a survey that emphasised that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, it has to be this report

Senior reporter

Most women are switched off by AI while a quarter of the men worldwide would choose to be a cyborg if given the option.
iLife – a prosumer report by global communication group Havas and Market Probe International – has uncovered a clear gender divide when it comes to the future of AI.
Its survey of more than 12,000 men and women in 32 countries found that 44% of women are optimistic about the future of AI compared with 60% of men.
“While women are more apt to think that these new technologies will take away jobs, leaving millions of people unemployed, prosumers – today’s leading influencers and market drivers – and men said the two most likely scenarios are that intelligent machines will help humanity progress and solve society’s most pressing problems,” the research found.According to the data, more men believe that AI will liberate them from repetitive tasks and give them more time to enjoy life. Women, on the other hand, believe AI will take over society and destroy the planet.NeuroLeadership Institute South Africa’s research and solutions head, Rob Jardine, said neuroscience, which focuses on how the brain works, has valuable insights into precisely why AI is perceived as such a threat by the workforce.
“As social animals, our desire to be part of a herd – in this case a company – is hardwired into our brains, an evolutionary remnant of when physical survival depended on safety in numbers.
“Any sense of social exclusion, therefore, is felt as a danger to our very existence, and our brain is consequently sensitive to this trigger in our social environments,” he said.
To prepare the workforce for AI, employers would have to provide employees with a sense that their status was still being maintained, certainty about the future, a sense of belonging, and that exchanges in the future will be fair and equitable.“In this state we are no longer in survival mode and we can access the best parts of our brain to think rationally, make complex decisions, access long-term memory and be able to develop new ways of thinking.
“Only then will we be able to allow people the cognitive capacity to interpret this change for what it is: an exciting promise of future productivity and innovation,” Jardine explained.
He said the new roles created and the impact of AI on the South African economy would depend on the speed and degree of adoption across industry and society.
“Our rate of adoption is determined by the infrastructures we have to support it. We are not on the same level as some countries in Asia that have been funding AI research for the last few years and have converted from funding from AI research into AI-driven growth spending, but we are not far off.”

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