Artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize every industry, just as electricity, email, and the telephone had a transformative impact on our lives. Anticipating this shift, there has been concern from the public, policymakers, and the White House on how this shift will affect workers, especially women.

AI tools will be broadly adopted and integrated into daily life, both at work and at home. Like every new technology, some problems and benefits won’t be known until we experience them. Washing machines and disposable diapers meant laundry was no longer a full-time job. Electric heat displaced the need for chopping firewood, and email allowed for white-collar workers to manage communication and appointments without the help of a dedicated secretary.

But acknowledging that there may be some unanticipated quirks or problems to work out does not necessarily mean that AI will be particularly bad for workplace equity or women in the workplace, as some have speculated.

One particular report produced by McKinsey Global Institute found that women are 1.5 times more likely to need to change jobs in the next seven years. They attribute this to the high proportion of women in industries expected to be greatly affected by AI technology, such as ChatGPT, Google’s Bard AI, and DALL-E. Organizations such as UNESCO and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development have all published articles and issued statements voicing similar concerns about women and AI.

There are two separate concerns that are often conflated. One is that AI will discriminate against women by ignoring their interests, resulting in sexism and oppression, and the other is that women hold positions that will be fully replaced by AI, thereby decreasing women’s economic independence.

Women’s interests being ignored isn’t unique to AI. For example, the medical research field continues to grapple with and address gender bias stemming from earlier research and scientific studies. AI tools may, in fact, be able to identify instances of gender bias or discrimination in scientific studies or data sets.

It’s also not entirely clear if AI will replace a significant amount of jobs held by women. AI may help entrepreneurs start businesses by automating processes, bringing more flexibility to the workplace. This will be a benefit for both male and female small business owners. Also, there may be other efficiency gains for jobs often held by women. For example, influencers and freelance writers, a majority of whom are women, can use AI to automate tasks such as data entry, social media management, and even content creation.

Setting aside the recent ChatGPT AI language model tech leap, we still have not automated as many jobs as we could have using existing technologies. This is because there are many social benefits to interacting with real people instead of a digital form or chatbot.

Consider that, in 2023, we don’t really need storefront clothing stores — we can shop online. We don’t really need receptionists whose primary responsibility is scheduling, and most white-collar jobs can be done from home remotely. Still, business owners continue to create and staff these positions because the people who hold these jobs add meaningful value to the workplace.

Likewise, in healthcare, there remains a compelling case for having real people available at doctors’ offices, where empathy, nuanced understanding, and genuine human connection play a pivotal role in patient care. Few women want a robot midwife.

AI tools will allow for many workplace efficiency gains; those changes will come with some trade-offs to which we will ultimately adjust. But while technology has made tremendous strides in automating tasks, it has not replaced the valuable human touch and the experience of making a real-life purpose.