Gender in IT, Boosting Women, and Danger of Hidden AI Usage in the Workplace

Welcome to our weekly overview of the most essential tech news! This edition delves into captivating developments that underscore the ever-growing impact of artificial intelligence (AI) across various domains.

One of the highlights this week is an insightful argument presented by a Wharton professor, emphasizing the critical need to unlock the full potential of AI within organizations. The professor advocates for transparency and collaboration among employees to harness the transformative power of AI.

We also explore the inspiring initiative “Women Don’t Play,” which seeks to address gender disparity in the tech industry and empower women in technology-related roles. The initiative aims to create a more inclusive and diverse tech landscape.

Furthermore, we witness the continued integration of AI in tech products and services. Dropbox, for instance, made a groundbreaking announcement about their innovative AI-based solutions that revolutionize information search and workflow optimization.

Opera has also launched Opera One, a browser infused with generative AI capabilities, providing users with comprehensive answers and invaluable information during their web browsing experience.

However, besides AI advancements, we should recognize other significant news in the big tech industry. For example, there are optimistic trends in hiring, particularly in the IT market. A recent survey conducted by global staffing firm ManpowerGroup reveals the robust hiring plans of US employers, indicating a positive outlook for the upcoming quarter.

Let us explore together these noteworthy updates and keep you informed about the latest happenings in the dynamic world of technology.

Release AI from the shadows, argues Wharton professor

An image of Ethan Mollick, the Professor of management standing in his office near to a window.

Ethan Mollick

Ralph J. Roberts Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Associate Professor of Management, Academic Director, Wharton Interactive

A Wharton business school professor contends in a blog that workers using AI tools to boost individual productivity may be hurting the overall performance of their organizations by keeping their activity secret. In his One Useful Thing blog, Ethan Mollick emphasizes that billions of people now have access to large language models (LLMs), which offer productivity benefits.

He suggests that when people are given general-purpose tools like AI, they find ways to make their jobs easier and better, often leading to breakthrough inventions and transformative business approaches. However, Mollick notes that many inventors keep their AI discoveries hidden, referring to them as “secret cyborgs” or machine-augmented humans.

He argues that organizations should embrace AI and encourage workers to use it openly to reap its full benefits.

‘Women Don’t Play’ addresses gender disparity in the tech industry

NumberEight, an audience intelligence platform, and Odeeo, an in-game audio pioneer, have collaborated on a website called Women Don’t Play.

Launched on April 4 in honor of International Women’s Day, the website aims to elevate women in the gaming, advertising, and tech industries. Women Don’t Play offers a platform for hosting interviews, providing resources, and offering tools to women in technology, promoting gender equity and diversity.

The website is also valuable for men who share the same goals. Despite comprising 28% of the tech industry workforce, women only hold 15% of engineering jobs, despite holding 44% of STEM-related bachelor’s degrees as of 2022.

Women Don’t Play aims to equip women entering tech-related roles and fields with inspiration, practical guidance, and direction for success.

Dropbox introduces AI-based products and launches $50M AI Venture Fund

Logo for DropBox the storage space provider that helps in boosting productivity

Dropbox has unveiled two new AI-powered products, Dropbox Dash and Dropbox AI, as part of its platform to enhance users’ search capabilities and summarise information in Dropbox files. Dropbox Dash is an AI-powered universal search tool that integrates tools, content, and apps into a single search bar.

It eliminates the need to switch between apps while searching for content and incorporates smart collections called “Stacks” to organize and retrieve URLs like saving files into folders—dash plans to utilize generative AI for answering questions and surfacing relevant content in the future.

Dropbox AI aims to support more personalized and enlightened ways of working. Additionally, Dropbox has launched a $50 million AI venture fund to invest in AI startups.

Otter AI Chat: a collaborative AI tool for meetings

Otter.ai, an AI transcription company, has introduced Otter AI Chat, an AI-powered meeting tool designed to provide real-time question-and-answer support and generate meeting-specific content. As a meeting participant, Otter AI Chat collaborates with attendees, answers questions, and generates content based on meeting data.

Attendees can communicate with Otter AI Chat via messaging during meetings, enabling written interactions without interrupting the discussion. After the meeting concludes, Otter AI Chat can generate action items, summaries, follow-up emails, blog posts, and other necessary content.

Otter AI Chat aims to enhance collaboration and productivity during meetings.

Opera unveils AI-infused browser: Opera One

Opera has launched Opera One, a major revamp of its Chrome-based web browser. The new browser includes a native generative AI feature called Aria, which allows users to create text or computer code and obtain detailed answers to their questions.

Aria appears as a sidebar window and uses an API to connect to OpenAI’s ChatGPT generative AI engine, providing natural language answers derived from internet searches. The feature also incorporates Opera’s support documentation database for access to product information.

Aria aims to enable collaboration with AI while searching for information online.

Opra One dashboard showing various buttons to select for a service for boosting productivity

Mosyle introduces a generative AI-powered macOS scripting tool

Apple has introduced Mosyle AIScript, the first generative AI-powered macOS scripting tool. IT administrators can use natural language with AIScript to create scripts for managing Mac hardware fleets.

AIScript allows admins to request and receive ready-to-use scripts for various commands, simplifying automation tasks on managed Macs. Mosyle also introduced the Mosyle Script Catalog, which offers ready-to-use scripts for admins with limited scripting knowledge, and the Script Favorites feature, allowing script sharing within teams.

These features particularly benefit enterprises migrating to Macs, addressing potential knowledge gaps.

IT firms anticipate increased hiring in the next quarter, according to Manpower

According to a survey conducted by global staffing firm ManpowerGroup, US employers, especially those in the IT market, have aggressive hiring plans for the third quarter. Across all US industries, 48% of employers plan to hire in Q3, while only 13% anticipate staffing decreases.

Among US tech firms, 55% plan to expand their headcount, a 10% increase from the previous quarterly outlook. However, Q3 hiring projections are expected to be around 5% lower than for the same period in 2022.

The survey indicates continued demand for tech talent and dispels concerns about layoffs in the tech sector.