Women in industries threatened by AI and automation urged to ‘upskill’

Artificial intelligence and automation are infiltrating our daily working lives – and office workers are among those whose jobs are being taken over by machines.

That’s according to new research provided to ABC News by an Australian education organization that urges people to upskill so they don’t end up unemployed.

Pearson’s research focuses on roles likely to be automated as technology advances.

Historically, much of the automation conversation has focused on robots taking over factory jobs, or even replacing retail assistants in the form of self-service checkouts in supermarkets.

Pearson’s data also shows the less obvious pictures of automation encroaching on office environments, including for medical receptionists, accountants and personal assistants.

a chart showing job losses and gender rifts

“Some of the major (jobs) most impacted by technology are things like receptionists, waiters, bank workers, retail salespeople,” according to Sandya Baratha Raj, director of data science at Pearson.

“And what’s interesting is that a lot of those roles are more likely to be dominated by women.

“Women are more likely to be negatively impacted by technology than men.”

Take the work of a translator. Ten years ago, many Polaron national service employees worked manually for customers by listening to or reading languages ​​and translating them into text and voice.

There is now a plethora of software, including voice recognition, that does the groundwork for their work. Many people have used a form of it in Google Translate.

Google Translate is able to do much of the work once done by interpreters.(ABC News: Emilia Terzon)

“I think a lot of translators will become proofreaders,” Polaron projector coordinator Tristan Priolo told ABC News.

“They will be controllers, as opposed to translators.”

Seventy percent of Polaron’s translators are women. Some are older women who are less tech savvy and able to keep up with the rapid technological advancements in the industry.

“Unfortunately, many of our (translators) fall behind because they are unable to keep up or have not chosen to keep up,” Ms Priolo said.

“The industry is competitive. And they can’t necessarily make as much money from proofreading as from translation.

“But that being said, they could do a lot more.”

Pearson’s analysis found that by 2032, more than 10% of the work currently done by translators will be automated, and many will be in female-dominated industries.

Ms. Priolo herself speaks Spanish and Italian. She has a university education in translation but is afraid to specialize.

“I wish I could do this (work). But I’m afraid there’s no stability,” she said.

Polaron Projector Coordinator Tristan Priolo noticed that many parts of translation and interpretation are now done by machines.(ABC News: Emilia Terzon)

This all comes as the Federal Government hosts a jobs summit on the future of Australia’s workforce.

Data previously reported by ABC News revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) technology is expected to replace up to half of the work done today by 2030.

It’s that roles once considered too creative to be consumed by AI — like illustration to songwriting — are also under threat from rapid technological advancements.

Workers fear they have not been properly trained in digital advancements

New survey results also shared with ABC News by industry body CPA Australia, a local professional association for accountants, revealed that one in two workers do not believe they are trained in digital advancements.

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