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How is technology impacting next-generation women?



Technologies play a critical role in today’s corporate world. In this article, in honor of International Women’s Day (celebrated every year on March 8), Lauren Taylor provides insights on five ways technology will change the lives of the next generation of women.

Humanity is entering the rise of technology-driven evolution at an unprecedented speed. Companies today are strategizing about future investments and technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, or growth around new business models. While many of these trends will make for substantial investments for the next five to 10 years, few companies are considering the revolutionary convergence of different trends pulled from technology, behavioral and societal changes, and medical advances to understand how they will transform society.

Given below are five ways in which this phenomenon is set to impact women.

Advances in hardware and biological augmentation will enhance female physical capabilities
The coming years will usher in a number of body augmentation capabilities that will enable women to be even smarter, stronger, and more capable than they are today.Wearables will be one form of body augmentation assisting women in everyday tasks and goals, but they will far surpass the fitness trackers of today. In the future, wearables may include contact lenses that can take pictures or video, allowing women to seamlessly capture family memories in the moment without having to interrupt real life by pulling out a smart device.

In the industrial workspace, exosuits that increase physical strength will completely eliminate any barriers to entry for jobs in industrial settings where physical capabilities are a consideration. We will also see increased use of capability-increasing implants. These can range from heal implants that will bring comfort to women on their feet all day, to brain machine interfaces and subdermal RFID chips that would allow women to unlock doors or computer passwords with the wave of a hand.
However, the most powerful body augmentation will come from biological augmentation as a result of increased insight into our genomes, advances in in vitro fertilization technology, and powerful CRISPR gene-editing technology. These technologies have the potential to initiate an era in which women are no longer affected by heritable diseases such as certain forms of breast cancer.

These augmentations may lead to a new era of career equality between men and women that is instead shifted to the augmented vs. non-augmented population. We may see similar developments that integrate female and male sports competitions due to reduced physical strength and speed differences.

Gamification and behavioral science will increase female productivity
Early innovators such as UBER are already harnessing the incredible combined power of behavioral science, gamification, and artificial intelligence (AI). Uber’s behavioral science techniques include cueing up the next drive as the default option, not revealing the profitability of that ride (which is an uncertainty technique that is most often used in gambling), and giving drivers awards such as “Above and Beyond” that spur dopamine release. Gamification techniques used by the company include a graphical interface that brings a video-game like quality to the drive, as well as prompting goals that are always just out of reach to encourage continued pursuit.

These techniques will increasingly be used by and for women. Customization for each woman can help her to achieve individual goals, driving women to attain new educational degrees, achieve professional advancement, or mindfully parent throughout the day using individualized tips, directions, and rewards. By 2030, we can expect that behavioral scientists will have niche practices focused on female goal attainment.

A shared perspective from the female point of view will change corporate norms
The adoption of virtual reality (VR) can play an influential role in our ability to understand perspectives, other than our own, at the current moment. VR could be used in corporate training to put men in the shoes of women in order to gain a firsthand understanding of the effects of professional cultural bias, sexual harassment, or the demands of juggling a career and children. Other examples may include having women see themselves in the future, and looking at the lives they would live 40-50 years down the road if they saved $200 a month vs. $2000. This application could boost female financial freedom.

Extreme female personalization and customization will be extended to very aspect
We already see an advanced degree of personalization in marketing practices targeted at women, but this will be extended in the future to touch virtually all aspects of women’s lives. In addition to location and past purchase history data, marketers may be able to use emotional filters, based on women’s activity, to change the tone of their message on the spot in response to women’s current mood, perhaps in reaction to post-partum conditions or menopausal phases. Eventually, we may see AI personalization affect career trajectory, playing a guiding role in the positions women are offered based on their personal strengths without subconscious gender biases. It is inevitable that female diets and medical treatment will be far more personalized based on gender and genomic information.

Personalization will eventually give way to customization on a mass scale where products and services will be completely configured to the needs and preferences of women.

Conversations focused on our societal values will gain a great deal of attention
As these widespread and revolutionary technologies come at us from every angle and affect our bodies, thought processes, and behaviors, society will engage in a growing philosophical debate around what our values are as individuals, as a country, and as a species. What do we value most? Is it intelligence, success, happiness (perhaps in the form of strong family and community ties), or something else? Will we see new female-centric priorities emerge such as enhanced childcare support, maternity leave, and career reintroduction programs… or alternately, a reduced birth rate in favor of career or societal advancement? As we increasingly have the tools to engineer any of these outcomes, some will have to take priority over others. These and related questions that get at the heart of who we are as humans and what we value in our society will have tremendous ramifications.

About the Author:
Lauren Taylor is the Principal Consultant for the Visionary Innovation Group at Frost & Sullivan - a business consulting firm involved in market research and analysis, growth strategy consulting, and corporate training across multiple industries. For details, contact Priya George on priyag@frost.com

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