Domestic AI: AI's potential to transform unpaid domestic work in the UK and Japan


Principal Investigator: Dr Ekaterina Hertog, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford

Co-Investigator: Professor Vili Lehdonvirta, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Research fellow: Dr Lulu Shi, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford


Significant efforts have been directed at understanding the implications of new technologies for the future of employment and training. In contrast, the future of unpaid domestic work has received little attention so far. DomesticAI is a major research project based at the University of Oxford that will a) scope the potential of new gadgets and apps to free up time now locked into unpaid housework and care work and b) assess how willing we are to introduce these technologies into our private lives. On this basis, we will identify risks regarding data privacy and social exclusion associated with the rapid outsourcing to smart technology of tasks carried out within the privacy of our homes.

Focusing on Japan and the UK, the project will use a range of expert and household survey techniques to estimate the automatability of key domestic tasks as well as the affordability and social acceptability of emerging smart domestic technologies. Based on these estimates we will build several plausible scenarios of the ways in which domestic workloads will change in the coming years and the implications of these changes for social issues such as gender inequality and the domestic life of the elderly.