AI poses bigger threat to women’s jobs, warns IMF’s Lagarde

IMF chief Christine Lagarde (R) told CNN's Richard Quest that there were 3% more women's jobs vulnerable to AI than men's. (AFP)
Updated 10 February 2019

AI poses bigger threat to women’s jobs, warns IMF’s Lagarde

  • Lagarde says women earn less and their jobs are more vulnerable to AI
  • She warns that post-Brexit Britain will be worse off

DUBAI: Artificial Intelligence, known as AI, poses a bigger threat to women’s jobs than men’s, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Sunday at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

“AI and fourth industrial revolution will have a more severe impact on women than men, because many of the tasks that are done by women are more routine tasks that are more easily automated and can be substituted by AI and other tech devices,” she said.

According to Lagarde, 11 per cent of women’s jobs will be affected by AI, opposed to nine per cent of men’s jobs.

She said that even her role would ultimately be impacted by the development of technology.

Lagarde also spoke of the current challenges faced by the world: Trade tensions and tariff escalation, financial tightening, Uncertainty related to Brexit, and finally the  accelerated slowdown of the Chinese economy.

Moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest, the IMF chief spoke of the fact that the UK will “never have it as good as it does now” due to its imminent departure from the European Union after it voted to leave the bloc in summer of 2016.

Apart from these, Lagarde highlighted the importance of trust for economic growth in countries and the detrimental effects corruption has on an economy.

“All corruption erodes trust and trust is at the heart of economic relations, the more corruption you have the slower the growth,” she said.


Dubai counts on pent-up demand for tourism return

Updated 11 July 2020

Dubai counts on pent-up demand for tourism return

DUBAI: After a painful four-month tourism shutdown that ended this week, Dubai is betting pent-up demand will see the industry quickly bounce back, billing itself as a safe destination with the resources to ward off coronavirus.

The emirate, which had more than 16.7 million visitors last year, opened its doors to tourists despite global travel restrictions and the onset of the scorching Gulf summer in the hopes the sector will reboot before high season begins in the last quarter of 2020.

Embarking from Emirates flights, where cabin crew work in gowns and face shields, the first visitors arrived on Tuesday to be greeted by temperature checks and nasal swabs, in a city better known for skyscrapers, luxury resorts and over-the-top attractions.

Tourism chief Helal Al-Marri said that people may still be reluctant to travel right now, but that data shows they are already looking at destinations and preparing to come out of their shells.

“When you look at the indicators, and who is trying to buy travel, 10 weeks ago, six weeks ago and today look extremely different,” he said in an interview.

“People were worried (but) people today are really searching heavily for their next holiday and that is a very positive sign and I see a very strong comeback.”

The crisis crushed Dubai’s goal to push arrivals to 20 million this year and forced flag carrier Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, to cut its sprawling network and lay off an undisclosed number of staff.

But Al-Marri, director-general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said that unlike the gloom after the 2008 global financial crisis, the downturn is a one-off “shock event.”

“Once we do get to the other side, as we start to talk about next year and later on, we see very much a quick uptick. Because once things normalize, people will go back to travel again,” he said.

The reopening comes as the UAE battles stubbornly high coronavirus infection rates that have climbed to more than 53,500 with 328 deaths.

And as swathes of the world emerge from lockdown, for many travelers their holiday wish lists have shifted from free breakfasts and room upgrades to more pressing issues like hotel sanitation and hospital capacity.

With its advanced medical facilities and infrastructure, Dubai is betting it will be an attractive option for tourists.

“The first thing I’m thinking is — how is the health-care system, do they have it under control? Do I trust the government there?” Al-Marri said. “Yes they expect the airline to have precautionary measures, they expect it at the airport. But are they going to a city where everything from the taxi, to the restaurant, to the mall, to the beach has these measures in place?”

Tourists arriving in Dubai are required to present a negative test result taken within four days of the flight. If not, they can take the test on arrival, but must self-isolate until they receive the all-clear.

While social distancing and face masks are widely enforced, many restaurants and attractions have reopened with business as usual, even if wait staff wear protective gear and menus have been replaced with QR codes.

“When it comes to Dubai, I think it’s really great to see the fun returning to the city. As you’ve seen, everything’s opened up,” Al-Marri said.