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Is AI Going to Take Our Jobs?
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Is AI Going to Take Our Jobs?

Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Editorial Team

Author(s): Guy Erez

Originally published on Towards AI.

An honest take on AI’s impact on the job market and our lives

The Current State of Affairs

This post doesn’t really need a preface. Literally, everyone, including my future mother-in-law (who’s still asking me to help her write one-line emails) has heard about or even actively used AI.

What was until quite recently the realm of a chosen few and the subject of frightening news articles like this article from June last year has become, in a matter of a few months, part of our day-to-day lives.

Whether it be chatGPT for practically everything or DALL-E & Midjourney for generating bizarre, thought-provoking images, AI usage has seen exponential growth like no other.

At first, it felt great. AI solves so many problems. It can help us generate stunning images for our articles and presentations. It can save quite a bit of time for developers — whether it be searching for obscure documentation or writing short snippets of boilerplate code. It can even help you plan your trip to Japan! (really, give it a try, it doesn’t really matter where you’re traveling to)

But then it hit me, and there’s no meme like this one to describe how I felt:

Now, you may say to yourself — this guy’s nuts, AI is still a far cry from human capabilities. And you may be right, I had chatGPT give me broken code, wrong, even misleading information. BTW, if you happen to try chatGPT in a language that’s not fully supported, you’re in for a treat.

That said, look how incredible it is NOW, especially the most recent iteration powered by GPT-4. Here are some tweets to ponder:
GPT-4 is the new shakespeare?
GPT-4 creating a website from a hand-drawn mockup
Building a PROFITABLE business with GPT-4

So… should it keep me up at night? I took these points and had a good discussion with my human friends. Here are our conclusions:

The Creator Economy Is Going to Explode

In recent years we’ve all witnessed a fascinating economic phenomenon — the creator economy. People are now making a lot of money off of podcasts, cat videos, weird dances, and of course — online courses. That’s truly fantastic, as it enables practically anyone in the world to express themselves creatively and earn money from their content.

I believe AI will take it up a notch. The creator economy has one key limitation — your success depends on your own skills. That’s great, right? success by merit and all. But what if you wanted to build a business in something you’re deeply passionate about but have absolutely no experience with?

Well, you could try to learn it yourself, but that could potentially take years. You could also raise capital and hire professionals — which also requires a lot of time and money to pull off, which is quite a heavy investment for an uncertain payoff.

That same passionate individual, with AI at their fingertips, **can achieve almost anything. The AI revolution is going to completely reshape our business landscape.

Small teams of dedicated, passionate individuals will now be able to build innovative products that outshine even the most established competitors**. Where economies of scale previously reigned supreme, it’s now an open playing field, and we will ALL benefit from it.

That doesn’t only mean new innovative products, it also means tons of new job opportunities. More small companies mean you’re more likely to find a better fit for your unique set of passion and expertise.

AI doesn’t really KNOW things.

That’s something worth noting. Even GPT-4 (as of this writing, the most sophisticated multimodal language model out there) is not Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). It still has limitations, the most significant of which is that its outputs are heavily dependent on YOUR prompts. The quality of your questions drives your results.

You can try and tell it to “build you a great business” but how do you define such a business? What is “great”? do you emphasize fulfillment or cash flow? The AI doesn’t KNOW. It can collect data that is semantically relevant, which often leads to very useful results, but it lacks the capacity to truly understand.

Change is SLOW

Even if we would reach the singularity, say… 5 years from now, even THAT doesn’t mean anarchy will ensue. That’s because significant, society-wide change takes time. There are many examples; let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Cleaning services — the market is full of pretty good robot mop-vacuum. Some of them even clean themselves! They’re even cost-effective if you think about it. Yet cleaning services are still in high demand.
  2. Cashiers — We’ve had automatic cashiers and automated systems for handling food orders for quite a few years now. Yet it doesn’t seem to impact the job availability for cashiers, at least for the time being.
  3. Education — There are free & very cheap courses online that are simply amazing. And it’s well established by now that you don’t NEED a college education to be successful in life, it’s no longer a prerequisite for many jobs out there. However, most people still pursue higher education at physical colleges and universities.
  4. Sales — People have been shopping online for quite a long time now. I think there’s a solid chance that some younger Gen Z’ers have never interacted with a sales rep. Everything’s online, but Salespeople are still an important pillar of every business out there, and a good salesperson can make a lot of money.
  5. Frontend Development — We’ve had Wix, SquareSpace, WordPress, and many other solutions for building awesome (simple) websites in no time. They’re relatively cheap and super simple. Yet Frontend developers are still in high demand.

Even when change does happen, it tends to happen in stages. If we take the website building example, Frontend developers did, for the most part, stop building simple landing pages. However, Frontend development has grown to be a very complex, nuanced field, and that’s a good thing! It gives developers more time to focus on more creative and interesting aspects of their work. So I wouldn’t write their eulogy just yet.

What if I’m wrong?

Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions

In the end, even if I’m wrong and the world is going to fall apart once we reach the singularity, I still think it’s worth pursuing your passions, living life to the fullest, and enjoying a good night’s sleep.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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