By Alexandra Whittington, Fast Future
Artificial Intelligence is developing fast. We know it is having an impact on the world of work. What impact might it have for women and particularly for mothers? How likely is it to positively impact their lives?
We are getting used to the idea of AI having a central role of in care-giving in the future, for example, providing home care for the elderly. It is possible that intelligent machines may serve to help women in their roles as mothers and caregivers.
Decisions on fertility
Medical AI might help women manage their fertility and childbearing decisions. Having an AI doctor providing personalized gynecological and obstetric care has the potential to give greater control of reproduction to women. Given AI’s strong predictive capacities, could women use AI to plan or avoid pregnancy? A birth control app using AI to track women’s cycles has already been approved by the FDA.
Pre and post-natal care
Once a woman is pregnant there could be exercise, diet and mental health advice provided as part of an AI prenatal programme. Following the birth, an AI nurse could be an invaluable form of monitoring for danger signs in terms of physical and mental states. Baby care AI systems could be a great source of information for new mothers and help prevent tragic experiences with postpartum depression by monitoring hormones and nutrition. It could also be invaluable in allowing sick babies to stay out of nurseries and raise the family’s comfort levels if NICU care can be replicated at home.
The health of young children
With AI healthcare support mothers could exercise more involvement in their children’s medical treatments. Monitoring symptoms, tracking medication schedules and avoiding germs might become a way for women to use AI to care for their children.
The benefit of an In-home AI doctor could save time on trips to the GP surgery. It could be that the next generation of children will be vaccinated and examined by human doctors and nurses, while an AI assistant looks on to verify that all safety measures are taken and that no ethical violations occur.
Surgery and other routine procedures could also be performed by robots—this would free up doctors to conference with parents and assure them that all the treatments are being implemented as planned.
An AI parenting assistant might help single mothers fulfil their parenting role. Family structures could move away from being headed by two parents—in fact, women could choose to outsource childcare to smart machines. An AI babysitter would be completely transparent and controllable, whereas human caregivers can easily impose their own theories of child-rearing.
Having said this, we need to exercise a great deal of caution. There is an on-going nature vs nuture debate and psychologists need to research how well human beings will thrive in the company of a non-human caregiver.
AI help for mothers is on its way– we have yet to see exactly what this will look like.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Whittington is from Fast Future, a professional foresight firm specializing in delivering keynote speeches, executive education, research, and consulting on the emerging future. Fast Future publishes books from future thinkers around the world exploring how developments such as AI, robotics, exponential technologies, and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, societies, businesses, and governments and create the trillion-dollar sectors of the future. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. The latest books from Fast Future are: ‘Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity’, and ‘The Future – Reinvented: Reimagining Life, Society, and Business’. And their forthcoming book is ‘500 Futures’. See: www.fastfuture.com