Abuja — Artificial intelligence (AI) has the capability to close the gender gap by handling more domestic chores, thereby allowing women more time for work and leisure, a new research report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has said.
The WEF research revealed that AI overtaking domestic chores could close the gender gap, noting that about 40 per cent of time spent on domestic chores could be automated within a decade.
The WEF’s conclusion stemmed from the research showing that advancements in automation and AI would allow robots to take over a significant proportion of domestic chores over the next decade.
Specifically, a panel of AI experts estimated that, based on a list of 17 common domestic tasks, an average of 39 per cent of the time spent per task could be automated within 10 years.
The findings were published in PLOS One, a peer-review journal.
The new study could have a major societal impact for women, according to the WEF, which noted that the overwhelming majority of housework in Europe and other parts of the world is still done by women.
“Working-age adults spend similar amounts of time on this unpaid domestic work as they do on paid work.
“But household chores are also disproportionately carried out by women. Therefore, automation of these tasks could lead to significant social and economic consequences. More time – particularly that of women – could be freed up for social, leisure and paid work.This is particularly relevant,” an article on the WEF’s website stated.
The WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022 also stated that, “at our current rate of progress, it will be another 132 years before there is parity between men and women.”
The WEF’s 2022 report examined “gender parity” across four areas – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment – finding that Europe and North America are the nearest to closing the gap at six decades away. South Asia was the farthest away at 197 years.
In the latest WEF study, the panel of AI experts found that traditional housework, such as cooking and cleaning, is more easily automated than care tasks, such as caring for children or the elderly.
Indeed, the most easily automated task, according to the findings, was likely to be grocery shopping, which could be 59 per cent automated within 10 years, while the least easy to automate is likely physical child care at 21 per cent.
Service robots for domestic and household tasks, mainly robotic vacuum cleaners and mops, are becoming the most widely sold robots globally.