AI, ChatGPT & Jobs

 

ChatGPT, AI, and Jobs

The post-Covid job market’s been an unpredictable beast. From 2020-2022, experts struggled to wrap their brains around employment trends that no longer fit recognizable patterns.

Whatever progress they’d made flew out the window when OpenAI dropped ChatGPT in November 2022.

The concept of AI is nothing new. It’s been a common element in science fiction since the genre began, and actual AI research goes back to the 1950s. This partially explains our fear of the concept, as stories such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, War Games, and The Terminator emphasized the danger is poses to our survival.

AI Jobs

ChatGPT’s descendant?

While our current AI tools are nowhere near that level, they do stir up legitimate fears. The big question is whether they pose a real threat to people’s careers. So, do they?

Y​es.

We can dance around it, but AI presents a real threat to careers in sectors across the economy. To get our hands around it, we must first put it into perspective.

ChatGPT: A New Step in a Long Process

A​I is a new development, but it’s also another step in a process that’s unfolded since the kickoff of the industrial age.

There are many once-common career paths that no longer exist, thanks to developments such as mass production, robotics/automation, and e-commerce. Just ask your local blacksmith, cobbler, or cooper. There’s a good chance you don’t even know what a cooper is.

There are many once-common career paths that no longer exist, thanks to developments such as mass production, robotics/automation, and e-commerce. Just ask your local blacksmith, cobbler, or cooper. There’s a good chance you don’t even know what a cooper is.

ChatGpt

For the record, a cooper made barrels.

These jobs only exist today as a novelty, or hobby.  In the meantime, the innovations that made them obsolete also created new job categories vital to our modern job market (such as software engineer, truck driver, robotics technician, etc.).

This early, it’s clearer what will be destroyed than created. Because of this, you can’t blame people for being afraid. Imagine how a cobbler felt when machine-made shoes first arrived in stores.

Managing AI

When it comes to AI, we’ve rung the bell. There’s no going back, whether we’re ready for it or not.

The question is how to best manage it. How can we minimize what it destroys, while discovering what it creates? It will be difficult to slow its momentum enough to do this.

For once, though, it would be great if we could proceed in a thoughtful manner. We tend to dive right in, assuming we’ll clean up the mess later.  Experts debate how we can avoid this as I write this.

What Can You Do?

AI threatens to transform, or make obsolete,  a variety of jobs in the near future. They include:

  • Customer support representatives
  • Accountants
  • Translators
  • Content writers
  • Software engineers
  • Salespeople

That’s just a starting list. What can people do once they realize they’re in ChatGPT’s crosshairs?

I suggest the Phil Tippet approach. He’s the legendary animator from Industrial Lights and Magic, behind films such as Star Wars and Robocop.

AI Jobs

Phil, animating the ED-209 from Robocop.

In the early nineties, Phil was working on an upcoming film, called Jurassic Park, when he got word the animation would be done via CGI (computer graphics). His response was, “Now I’m extinct.”

After that moment of gloom, he decided to work with the computer animators. To his surprise, he found a good deal of his knowledge could be applied to fix issues the animators struggled with. In short order, he became an important figure in the growing CGI space.

This is the spirit to embrace if AI threatens your livelihood. We need to discover what it can and can’t accomplish, and how to apply your expertise to make it work for you. This also applies if you decide you need to protect your field from AI altogether. You can’t fight an enemy you don’t know.

It could be the difference between AI being a tool to enrich us or something that runs us over.

Where Do We Go from Here?

We’re at the beginning of the AI conversation. It’s already upset people by threatening to replace us in areas we hadn’t considered vulnerable yet. To manage it, we can’t make decisions out of ignorance. There’s no stopping the train, but we can build better tracks for it to follow.

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