The fear of whether ChatGPT would be coming for our jobs has been lingering in everyone’s mind ever since its launch in November 2022.
While most of us have brushed away that sentiment, jobs that are manual, repetitive, and need minimal creativity and thinking are suspected to be the most vulnerable.
Now, a new report from Washington Post claims that the AI chatbot has officially started taking over human jobs, with workers writing marketing and social media content being replaced with tools like chatbots.
The Post highlighted the story of 25-year-old copywriter Olivia Lipkin from San Francisco, who worked at a tech start-up as the company’s sole author. In the months following the launch of ChatGPT, Olivia’s workload decreased.
She noticed that her managers had begun referring to her as “Olivia/ChatGPT” on internal Slack groups.
In April, Olivia was fired from her job without an explanation. She later found out that managers at the company had been writing about how using ChatGPT was cheaper than paying a writer, which cleared the air around losing her job.
“Whenever people brought up ChatGPT, I felt insecure and anxious that it would replace me,” she said. “Now I actually had proof that it was true, that those anxieties were warranted and now I was actually out of a job because of AI.”
Experts argue that even the most advanced AI doesn’t match the writing skills of a human or emulate many human qualities such as emotions, creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and innovation. It provides wrong, illogical, or biased answers.
Despite its shortcomings, this hasn’t refrained companies from using chatbots and other AI-powered tools, as they are willing to accept a drop in quality for cost-cutting.
“We’re really in a crisis point,” said Sarah T. Roberts, an associate professor at University of California in Los Angeles specializing in digital labor. “[AI] is coming for the jobs that were supposed to be automation-proof.”
The rapid improvement in AI technology over the past couple of years has undoubtedly changed the workforce as we know it while providing opportunities for growth and innovation.
The ease with which chatbots can hold fluid conversations, write songs and produce computer code has pushed many Silicon Valley companies to offer these products to millions of users for free. Generative AI has the potential for a new stage of disruption, especially the high-earning, creative jobs that need broad education.
“In every previous automation threat, the automation was about automating the hard, dirty, repetitive jobs,” said Ethan Mollick, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
“This time, the automation threat is aimed squarely at the highest-earning, most creative jobs that … require the most educational background.”
The Post quotes a report from Goldman Sachs that predicts 18% of work globally could be automated by AI, with white-collar jobs expected to be at higher risk than manual labor jobs.
With the potential for AI to cut labor costs, it’s still early to find out the extent of AI’s disruption to the workforce. While ChatGPT can and will replace certain job roles, the future of work is not predetermined by technology.
It is important to understand how to upskill our unique talents and find ways to evolve and improve our value proposition for the company so as to stay ahead of AI.
Source: Washington Post