ChatGPT – friend to innovation or foe?

They’re taking our jobs’…but which jobs?

Technological advancements tend to create both unique opportunities alongside similarly unique challenges. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has been met with both excitement and apprehension. While businesses are eager to integrate AI into their operations to boost productivity and scale, an overwhelming majority fear that increasing automation will lead to net job loss. 

Newer narratives surrounding automation surprisingly aren’t all doom and gloom as experts predict that AI will ultimately allow workers to focus on higher-level tasks that require critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving skills. In fact, capitalizing on these new opportunities will be contingent upon workers’ ability to bring human ingenuity and creativity into play. 

The demand for AI-related skills is rapidly increasing

According to data from LinkedIn, the number of job listings mentioning GPT have increased 51% from 2021 to 2022, with generative AI-adjacent skills such as ‘natural language processing’ appearing on more individual profiles as well. 

Unleashing the power of AI as an assistive tool is an important aspect, similar to how the first business courses on how to use personalized computers would’ve been considered ‘high level’ learning by pioneers of industry. Knowing full well that the adoption of AI in the workplace is inevitable, not learning how to leverage generative AI would be a missed opportunity to scale entire industries.

A revolution isn’t a complete overhaul

Where AI threatens to impact certain positions such as data entry, customer service, assembly-line work, and given time, content production, it will also create new job categories. 

Just as Photoshop created a new medium for designers to work with, advances in AI are poised to revolutionize industry in ways that are currently unknown. “People both overestimate and underestimate the impact AI is going to have on jobs,” says Phrasee CEO Parry Malm. “What will change in five years’ time are things people haven’t even started to worry about yet.”

Where Parry is ‘existentially worried’ however, is for “any business model predicated upon billable hours”. As workers adopt AI, output will inevitably increase at faster rates. The fallacy of ‘a job well done equates to a job that took more time’ opens up a new debate on how we value any prerequisite experience that an AI user might have to get to that level of efficiency. 

This nuanced line of questioning reminds us that those working alongside AI will also be tasked with the responsibility of being effective communicators in advocating its potential usage as a tool to boost productivity rather than a compelling use case to replace the person behind the final product.

Looking ahead in an AI-driven workplace

The increasing adoption of AI in the workplace is not something to fear but rather to embrace. Workers who learn to leverage AI tools effectively will be better positioned to take advantage of new opportunities in the AI-driven workplace. As we’ve seen with technological innovation of the past, effectiveness in the workplace will be contingent upon how workers develop critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving skills. 

The real challenge now lies in the hands of earlier adopters and those willing to prioritize these new skills in a job market still preoccupied with older modes of operation. The rise of AI is not a threat to human jobs, but rather a call for creativity and innovation as we find new ways to work. 

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