A.I. could act as the personal assistant working moms need

Avni Patel Thompson at Fortune's MPW Next Gen.
Stuart Isett—Fortune

We all want more time on our hands—especially working moms. Generative A.I. might be able to help with that.

“When I look around, I see a generation of women who were raised to be told that they could be anything they wanted to be—that they could be in the boardroom, that they can be captains of industry,” Maya Mikhailov, founder and CEO of SAVVI AI, which helps businesses build and launch A.I. apps, said at a roundtable discussion at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Next Gen conference Wednesday. “But at the same time, it’s a generation of women who were still raised with a traditional framework of who was in charge.”

So far, generative A.I. has been largely used by businesses because they measure productivity. But no one measures productivity at home. A.I., Mikhailov said, has “a tremendous possibility” to help women with the cognitive and time load that comes with shouldering the burden of work and domestic responsibilities. “We’re still the ones that are doing that invisible labor,” Mikhailov said.

More women are working than ever before—there are more women than men in America’s college-educated workforce, and they make up nearly half of the overall workforce. But they’re still bearing the brunt of household chores like laundry and cooking and childcare, both of which have only worsened in the era of remote work.

“We really need that forcefield around us to protect our time and our space,” Avni Patel Thompson said at the discussion.

She has good reason for saying this—she founded Milo, an A.I. app designed to help parents. The goal, she said, is for it to act as a personal assistant that can simplify families’ lives by making sense of the information it receives. For example, texting a birthday party invite to Milo would not just put the invite on your calendar, but send a reminder to pick up a birthday present or alert if there is a schedule conflict at the time of the party.

It’s clear from the chorus of the non-panelist women attending the discussion that there is a need for applications like these to help them carry the mental load of motherhood. One mother said that to attend the conference, she had to sit down with her daughter to create an hourly spreadsheet on who would be picking her up from class or taking her to ballet while she and her husband were both out of town. Another chimed in that she created a similar handwritten schedule, but has still been fielding calls while away to clarify details.

As Patel Thompson describes it, being a working mom is four different jobs in one—the actual 9-to-5 job, plus acting as a human database telling the family where they need to be, the chief problem solver deciding which stroller to get, and the memory making creating experiences for their children. “We are stressed at 3 a.m. because we’re trying to figure out how do we use this time to the best advantage,” she said.

It’s why A.I. assistants for the household isn’t just about productivity for her; there’s also a meaning side of it as well, she said.

All of the panelists were confident A.I. would continue to develop in a direction that would make our homes and communities more efficient, including Nasrin Mostafazadeh, co-founder of A.I. start-up Verneek, and Nicole Johnson, partner of venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures. Mikhailov said that there are more language applications you can attach to the internet to perform tasks for you, and Patel Thomson said she believes the technology and capabilities will get there.

“I was pushed to to go to the best schools and do the best things and then get married and have kids and everything,” she said. “And I don’t know how to do all of that and be all of that without someone taking the load of running all the operations.”

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