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Will ChatGPT take my job?

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WORLD Radio - Will ChatGPT take my job?

Generative AI tools make strides in content creation but still fail to match human common sense


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, maker of ChatGPT and CEO of OpenAI, arrives in Washington for a closed-door gathering of leading tech CEOs to discuss the priorities and risks surrounding artificial intelligence and how it should be regulated. Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the disruption of artificial intelligence.

The meteoric launch of generative AI in the last few years has some people worried about job security.

Tech companies like OpenAI praise artificial intelligence as a tool to boost productivity.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: But generative AI has also raised questions about what it contributes to the workplace and what it takes away.

In March, a Goldman Sachs report predicted that AI could disrupt over 300 million jobs around the globe within the next decade.

EICHER: WORLD intern Emma Perley has been asking around to find out whether generative AI is likely to be as disruptive as some fear.

EMMA PERLEY, REPORTER: ChatGPT will you take my job?

CHATGPT: No, I don't want to take anyone's job. I'm just a computer program created to assist and provide information. While AI and automation can change the job landscape in some industries, my role is not to replace humans but to support and complement human abilities.

ChatGPT didn’t answer my question of whether it would take my job. Instead it claims it’s just a tool, and it is. But what dangers come with using it? Right now, AI can program software, write Harvard essays in legalese, and solve difficult problems on its own. Essentially, it sounds like a human and has skills that rival a white-collar businessman.

But most experts agree that people make a mistake when they compare artificial intelligence to actual human minds. AI has singular objectives, meaning it fulfills demands the only way it knows how, and without considering other options. And it doesn’t have common sense.

Some, such as Kirsten Lum, currently work alongside artificial intelligence and see it as a springboard for increased productivity and efficiency. Lum is a chief product officer at a data company called Storytellers.ai. She’s spent almost a decade in analytics, and Storytellers specializes in gathering data and predicting outcomes through AI. And one of her main criticisms is that AI is still prone to mistakes.

KIRSTEN LUM: I think the misconception is that this technology is like plug and play, it's just going to sweep through various organizations, and it's all going to be AI. But it's actually very difficult to make these systems work in a way that's reliable enough.

Generative AI can experience “model collapse,” which is when it gleans information from other AI models rather than human content. The result is a kind of “synthetic” data which lacks original sources.

And while the internet is more of a delivery-based system, AI thrives in content creation. However, just as the internet inevitably caused people’s jobs to change, so will artificial intelligence. Audio here from HubSpot Marketing.

HUBSPOT: Now AI is freeing up marketers and a lot of other business folks to focus on decisions at the strategy level. It’s also giving marketers access to previously untapped information, which can help you deliver more targeted and smarter messaging.

AI is already making sweeping inroads in generated marketing content. And it may simply be the next technological stepping stone, treading the same path the internet once did.

LUM: I think there is a reality that AI is likely to be incorporated in a very large variety of jobs. And where I see that technology's trajectory, I don't see it as being a job replacer.

Lum is optimistic that AI won’t cause much disruption as it integrates into the workplace.

LUM: So that’s my hope is that AI may move fast, but where it's moving fast, it's creating opportunity where it's shifting opportunity away from, you know, say large groups of humans, and then, two, that where it will actually eliminate jobs, it'll be slow enough to where people can change their careers rather than be displaced.

One example of this is self-driving cars. Car manufacturers such as Tesla have been working for years to fully automate cars which can navigate safely on the road while driverless. Though these “robocars” are still several years away from being fully operational, Lum says there’s opportunity to switch careers in the meantime.

Lum is one of the many AI supporters who thinks people can rest easy… as she believes AI won’t take most people’s jobs. While it might affect HOW they do their job in the future, it’s certainly not smart enough or reliable enough to replace real people…at least for now.

JOUSTRA: Hi, my name is Rob Joustra, and I’m a professor of politics, International Studies at Redeemer University.

Located in Canada, Joustra has worked in academics for 20 years and regularly leads faculty development workshops. He says a common concern in recent meetings is professors who fear their jobs are at stake in the face of AI development.

JOUSTRA: Artificial intelligence is going to take over everything, it's going to transform the marketplace, it's going to put us all out of work in 10 years.

Joustra feels like that reaction is a little overblown, but says it’s nothing new.

JOUSTRA: It was such a perfect encapsulation to me of the sort of general hysteria that surrounded the encounter of AI in academia.

He’s had to adapt to a lot of technological change over the years. And it’s usually been a good thing.

JOUSTRA: Our research methods, if I can put it that way, are constantly being regenerated and changed. So the idea that large language models would push us on how research is done, I mean, that's just another Tuesday in academia, our research methods are always changing.

Joustra encourages what he calls “Christian curiosity.”

JOUSTRA: We don't need to be afraid. We don't need to be alarmist, we look to the revelation of the true things, which is, of course, the truth that Jesus is Lord, right? That even large language models do not somehow escape his grasp. But we also appreciate the ingenuity and the marvelous ways in which human beings can make something in this world.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Emma Perley.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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