Just when careers derailed by Covid had begun to totter back on track, another disruptive force is threatening to alter the work paradigm and claim jobs worldwide.ChatGPT, the latest buzzword in generative artificial intelligence (Gen-AI), has taken the world by storm ever since it was launched by Microsoft-backed OpenAI in November last year. Clocking 100 million active users in just two months, ChatGPT has heralded a new era of creative and interactive AI that can impact an unprecedented variety of jobs across industries. While ChatGPT was the first to cross the finishing line and offered for public consumption, there are several Gen-AI tools that have been released subsequently (Google’s BARD, Microsoft Bing, ChatSonic, Ernie by China’s Baidu App), while countless others are waiting in the wings. This could unleash a tsunami of job disruptions across the globe. Goldman Sachs estimates that as many as 300 million jobs could be lost or impacted by Gen-AI worldwide.“This is definitely an inflection point, just as it was with the introduction of computers and the Internet,” says Bengalurubased Keshav Prawasi, Tech Co-founder, Niki.ai, one of the early AI startups in India. “While automation and AI have brought in a lot of changes over the past few years, impacting jobs and careers, it is different this time and feels more significant because a much wider class of jobs, especially white collar jobs instead of blue collar jobs, can be automated to increase productivity ,” he adds. But what exactly is Gen-AI and how is it likely to impact jobs? Generative AI is essentially a type of artificial intelligence that can develop or generate new content based on previous data or information. While ChatGPT is a text- and language-based Gen-AI, there are other types of Gen-AI for creating art (DALL-E2, Stable Diffusion) and music (AIVA, Soundful, Murf.ai). Simply put, ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a very evolved chatbot that can analyse large amounts of input text , generate new content based on this, and converse in the most humanlike fashion.“It produces output that Google search engine could not, and does so in a language that you need it,” says Devashish Chakravarty, Career Coach, Mentor and author of Yoursortinghat.com. So unlike Google search, which offers various link options when you pose a query, ChatGPT provides a precise answer after accessing its information base and analysing content, and presents it in a perfectly legible and ready-to-use format. It can perform a large number of text- and language-based tasks like answer questions explain concepts, and compose articles, mail, code, or music.ChatGPT is free and available on Web browser (chat.openai.com). A paid version, ChatGPT Plus, is available for $20 (Rs 1,650) a month, which offers access to the latest version ChatGPT-4 with a usage cap of 25 messages every three hours.While the world rightfully gushes about ChatGPT’s many abilities and doomsayers predict massive job losses in the immediate future, one also needs to contend with the Gen-AI tools’ glaring drawbacks.Gen-AI tools can help businesses improve performance and increase profits due to the quick and efficient tasks these can carry out accurately.a.Since it is currently free to use by anyone with Internet, it is a cost-effective way to harness its many capabilities.b.This can help reduce staff costs, introduce accuracy and efficiency, and save time for several businesses.c.: Since it can carry out tasks accurately in a fraction of time taken by people, it helps improve efficiency, increase productivity and result in higher profits for companies.d.: Businesses can use its humanlike interaction ability to improve customer engagement and experience, besides saving money and resources on reimbursing dissatisfied clients.There are various limitations and flaws shown by ChatGPT, which are also valid for other generative AI tools. These include:ChatGPT has thrown up inaccuracies and incorrect information, so it cannot be used without being scrutinised for authenticity and factual errors.It can only work on past information and data fed to it. “It’s a very powerful, but ultimately, a glorified autocomplete. It only works on the basis of past data and does not incorporate realtime world knowledge,” says Prawasi.: Language models like ChatGPT are known to ‘hallucinate’, which means that it produces seemingly confident and plausible responses that may be completely nonsensical and not aligned with facts or reality.Since it collates and summarises information on its own from a variety of sources, it does not cite any references or authors. This can reduce the credibility of the writer using the Gen-AI text, and pose a problem where attribution to sources is mandatorily required.: Picking up information from authors without permission can trigger copyright infringement cases. It can also lead to security breaches and bugs, which is a big concern.: Since information is picked up from existing data, the embedded bias, misinformation and discriminatory slant are bound to enter the write-up provided by it.Gen-AI can only summarise data and does not have even basic planning or reasoning ability. Hence, it cannot provide any insights or original inferences.With such a radically transformative technology, there are bound to be changes in jobs and careers across industries and sectors. Since ChatGPT is a language model, it will impact jobs that involve any form of communication and language. Certain jobs will become redundant and others will require reskilling (see Jobs impacted by Gen-AI). The workers who are likely to be impacted immediately would include translators, content creators, accountants, financial advisers, tech writers, legal assistants, customer service agents, and educators, among others.“If you consider a bell curve of skills, with low skills on the left, high skills on the right and medium skills in the middle, it’s the middle that will be flattened and where jobs will be destroyed. For the low skilled worker, Gen-AI is a boon because it helps reduce the gap between low and medium skills, and for a highly skilled person, it is a productivity tool,” says Chakravarty. However, most experts see it as another inflection point or revolution that will cause an initial upheaval, but settle down to enhance productivity, make businesses more efficient, and eventually lead to more jobs and prosperity.“It’s important to note that not all jobs will be completely decimated by Gen-AI. In many cases, it could be used to augment or enhance human work, rather than replace it. So, it could assist writers, designers or marketers by generating ideas or providing creative inspiration,” says Mohankumar Silaparasetty, Head, Technology Programs, TimesPro. It could also create new job opportunities like experts who can train, maintain, and develop these systems. There may be new roles created to manage the integration of Gen-AI into existing workflows. “People will be needed to maintain momentum in AI learning and none of these jobs exist in large volumes today. There will be roles around the AI tools to help them use more effectively,” says Neeti Sharma, Co-founder and President, TeamLease Edtech.With people already using ChatGPT and other Gen-AI tools, it doesn’t seem long before dismissals become rampant. While doomsayers predict massive job losses within six months, it may not play out like this. “It usually takes 2-3 times the period that is predicted. Tech doesn’t develop overnight and businesses display inertia while adopting it,” says Chakravarty. There are various factors that come into play before new tech and tools come into the public domain. “It will depend on whether the tools are ready, effective and available publicly at a reasonable cost. Right now, the models are expensive to train and run, which is why ChatGPT-4 has limitations on how much one can use it in a day,” says Prawasi.So while the process has started, we may be at least a year away from when it will be available at a reasonable cost. Only then will it be clear whether people in every field are using their respective models or are left obsolete.Whether the Gen-AI tools take a year or more to be incorporated into businesses, employees need to be alert and take preemptive action. “We should learn to coexist with Gen-AI. Since cognitive, collaborative and emotional work can only be done by humans, we should use it to our advantage, rather than feel left out,” says Sharma.Agrees Chakravarty: “In face of AI, only three abilities can future-proof your career— cognitive ability, human ability and ability to work in a digital environment. These are evergreen and will always take you forward.”An important first step is to change your attitude about education and employment. Be ready for AI developments that will impact your career, adapt to this rapidly changing environment, and learn new skills when needed. “Having this ability is critical because you do not know what changes will happen. It’s like learning to drive. The roads and models of cars may change but you will have the basic confidence and discipline to drive once you know it,” says Ramkumar Seshu, Author, Born to Win. “You have to learn continuously and not stop after your graduation. Tech evolution is an ongoing process. Today, it’s Gen AI, tomorrow it will be something else. You can’t be complacent or take your job for granted any longer as career is no longer a linear trajectory,” says Sharma.To change and adapt, you will first need to be aware and update yourself about AI developments. Read, listen, talk to people, peers, colleagues and leaders. There is a lot of information on social media and communities that talk about AI and Gen-AI. “I would highly recommend Reddit and Discord. Subreddits have very specialised topics and you can connect with people to get information. So, if you are a Web designer or a marketeer, you can figure out how people are generating codes or videos and images, or marketing analytics,” says Prawasi. You can also learn through short-term online programs which offer courses on AI and data science.Once you know how Gen-AI will impact your particular field of work, you can either upskill, reskill or learn a completely new skill. If your post is likely to become redundant, upskill at the earliest in a way that you can either monitor and handle the AI tool, or acquire niche expertise that is unlikely to be automated. “You can either acquire new skills in your area of industry or upskill to use the best AI models for your role,” says Prawasi. Don’t hesitate to learn a completely new skill either. “If you know the industry is moving from A to B, jump the ship to learn B while working on A because you never know when you may need to change track,” says Sharma.: As soon as any new tech comes in, start using it. The more you use it, the better you will be able to adapt to it, upskill yourself and be at the forefront of usage at work. “Develop a healthy enjoyment of technology instead of complaining. Incorporate it in your day-to-day work schedule and improve your productivity by using it as a tool just as you did with Google search 20 years ago,” says Chakravarty.While many white collar jobs are likely to face dismissals and replacements, there will also be role enhancements and job augmentations.Any job that requires content creation is at risk. This includes journalistic writing, even editing, creating advertisement copies, technical writing, etc. With reporters for US media firms Business Insider, CNET and CNBC already using ChatGPT for writing stories, though with factual errors, it’s only time before others follow suit.The number of people required to do such jobs will go down drastically, though people may still be needed for factual checks and supervision.Entry level developers, programmers and coders may be replaced gradually as AI can perform the same tasks faster, more effi ciently and with fewer errors, thereby increasing productivity.While simple tasks with repetitive work may see replacements, Gen-AI can ultimately help the experts involved in more creative, innovative and complex work, who are unlikely to be dismissed.With Gen-AI and AI-based tools creating visual content, designs, layouts and websites based on specific inputs or needs, it poses a threat to graphic designers and web developers.It may witness dismissals eventually, but for now it can augment jobs as these Gen AI tools can assist the designers and developers.With chatbots already in use in banking, healthcare and e-commerce, both telephonic and online servicing will see dismissals as it’s easy for Gen-AI to retrieve information and respond to customer queries.These jobs will see a high degree of displacements as chatbots become more evolved and can hold complex interactions with customers.Jobs that need intense research, analysis and summarising will see job losses. So legal assistants who culled information and simplified legal documents may go, as will accountants with Gen-AI using Excel formulae, balance sheets to make financial reports.While lower level jobs may be lost, Gen-AI may assist and and improve productivity and efficiency for seniors.While financial analysts have been using AI tools and roboadvisers have been used for dispensing investment advice, ChatGPT can collate large amounts of data, detect trends and patterns to offer detailed advice on wealth management.Since much of these fi nancial tasks can be automated easily, there might be a reduction in the manpower.As this job requires sifting through large volumes of data, condensing and analysing it, predicting trends and offering suggestions, such jobs may also face the brunt of ChatGPT.While jobs will be axed, it is also likely to create many more jobs to enhance efficiencies and fasten the pace of work.While the generative AI may help sift through resumes and identify candidates with greater ease, the actual process of recruiting will still require human interaction. So while there is bound to be reduction in workforce, ChatGPT may also assist recruiters improve effi ciency in hiring.For now, it is likely to act more as an enhancer for the recruiters.While Google Translate and OpenAI’s Whisper can translate in many languages, ChatGPT-4 can translate and transcribe over 50 languages. Gen-AI can easily accomplish simple translation and interpreting tasks, including mail and media texts.As text-based AI becomes more sophisticated, these jobs may be rendered virtually redundant.As ChatGPT helps kids with homework, it may also take on teaching as it can explain concepts, grade tests and check homework. It can also help online education fi rms create study modules and provide tutors. Human teachers may still be needed for young kids.For now, Gen-AI may prove a worthy assistant to school kids, but higher and online education may see jobs being lost.Go through the following tech terminology to understand what Gen-AI, LLM and ChatGPT are all about.(AI)It is a broad term used for technology that can behave intelligently, from simple algorithms to complex systems like human simulation.Language models are a type of neural network, where they can predict what word comes next in a given sequence of words. A large language model (LLM) is a type of machine learning model that can carry out several natural language processing tasks like classifying text or translating it from one language to another.Machine learning is a type of AI, where computers can learn from a large number of examples without human supervision. So, if a network has to be taught what a dog looks like, it will be fed a large number of images of a dog to fi gure out what it is. Machines programmed to learn from examples are called ‘neural networks’.Chat Generative Pre-trained Transormer is a Generative AI chatbot based on a large language model to hold humanlike conversations and create content ranging from text to images. It was developed by OpenAI (backed by Microsoft) and released in November 2022.It is a type of AI that can learn from a large number of examples and take it further by creating and generating something new, whether it is text, images, videos, music or other synthetic data.Whether you are on the brink of losing your job due to the fast evolving Gen-AI or face an axe a few years down the line, it’s time to take pre-emptive action.To keep pace with the rapidly evolving AI, be aware of the changes around you. Read articles by AI professionals online; be part of communities and forums like Reddit and Discord, where discussions can reveal how professionals in your field are developing ways to tackle AI threat or upping the game to stay relevant; and take online courses that can help you keep informed about AI progress.Pursuing advanced degrees or certification in fields related to Gen-AI technology can help you develop the skills and expertise that will be needed in the new jobs that come up around these technologies.If you are set to lose your job to Gen-AI automation, move up the seniority ladder by acquiring skills and degrees needed to handle Gen-AI tools or for newer roles in the organisation. Many of these will continue to require human intervention. For instance, if you are involved in content creation, learn multimedia management, or editorial planning and ideation.For jobs like HR recruitment, graphic designing, and legal tasks, focusing on specifi c contexts and individual customer requirement will help you stay relevant as automation takes care of collation and summation of data. As a mediaperson, focus on topical issues, new angles to in-depth human features, etc.If you are facing imminent dismissal, it is better to start learning new skills along different verticals in the same job, or look for a complete change of career by undertaking fresh professional courses, or even acquire expertise in niche areas of your profession that are unlikely to be touched by automation.
GPT’s reaction to this article:
As an AI language model, I do not have opinions, but I can provide a summary of the article. The article discusses the rise of generative artificial intelligence (Gen-AI) and its potential impact on jobs worldwide. It highlights ChatGPT, a language-based Gen-AI developed by OpenAI, which has already gained 100 million active users in just two months. While Gen-AI tools can improve performance and increase profits for businesses, they also pose a threat to jobs that involve communication and language. The article provides a list of jobs that are likely to be impacted by Gen-AI, including translators, content creators, accountants, financial advisers, tech writers, legal assistants, customer service agents, and educators. However, the article also notes that Gen-AI may create new job opportunities, and workers can future-proof their careers by upskilling, reskilling, or learning new skills.