As if there weren’t enough fears about layoffs in the tech industry, suddenly ChatGPT is added to the list of things workers have to worry about. The artificial intelligence-based chatbot is permeating more and more of the workplace as technology evolves at a rapid pace, CNBC reports.
Since the beginning of this year, the tech industry has already cut 5% more jobs than it did in all of 2022, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The rate of layoffs is on pace to surpass the job losses of 2001, the worst year for the tech sector job market due to the dotcom crash.
As layoffs continue to increase, workers not only fear being laid off, they fear being replaced entirely. A recent Goldman Sachs report found that 300 million jobs worldwide are affected by AI and automation.
ChatGPT and AI should not cause fear among employees because these tools will help people and companies work more efficiently,” according to Sultan Saidov, co-founder and president of Beamery, a global human capital management software-as-a-service company that has its own GPT, or generative pre-training transformer, called TalentGPT.
“It is already estimated that 300 million jobs will be affected by AI and automation,” says Saidov. “The question is: does that mean these people will switch or lose their jobs? I think in many cases it will change rather than be lost.”
ChatGPT is a kind of GPT tool that uses learning models to generate human responses, and Saidov says GPT technology can help workers do more than just make calls. Especially in the tech industry, certain jobs will be affected more than others.
Creative artists and designers need to acquire AI skills
Saidov points to creatives in the tech industry, such as designers, video game makers, photographers, and those who create digital images, as those whose jobs are unlikely to be completely eradicated. This will help those roles create more and get their work done faster, he said.
If you look back at the industrial revolution, when automation suddenly came to agriculture, did that mean fewer people would be doing certain jobs in agriculture?” said Saidov. “Definitely, because you wouldn’t need as many people in the field, but it just means the same number of people going to different jobs.”
Just like similar trends in history, creative jobs will be in demand following the widespread incorporation of generative AI and other AI technologies in the workplace.
“With video game creators, if the number of games made globally doesn’t change from year to year, you’re probably going to need fewer game designers,” Saidov said. “But if you can create more as a company, then this technology will just increase the number of games you’ll be able to make.”
Software developers and engineers will be affected
It’s not fair to say that GPT will completely eliminate jobs like developers and engineers,” says Sameer Penakalapathy, CEO of Ceipal, an AI-powered talent acquisition platform.
But while those jobs will still exist, their tasks and responsibilities will likely be diminished by GPT and generative AI.
An important distinction needs to be made between GPT specifically and generative AI more broadly when it comes to the job market, according to Penakalapathy. A GPT is a mathematical or statistical model designed to study patterns and provide results. But other forms of generative AI can go further, reconstructing different outcomes based on patterns and learning and almost mirroring the human brain, he says.
As an example, he gives that if you look at software developers, engineers and testers, GPT can generate code in a matter of seconds, giving software users and customers exactly what they need without relaying needs, adaptations and adjustments to the development team. GPT can do the work of a coder or tester instantly, instead of the days or weeks it might take a human to generate the same thing, he says.
Generative AI can impact software engineers more broadly, and devops (development and operations) engineers in particular, Penakalapathy says – from developing code to deploying, conducting maintenance and making updates in software development. In this broader set of tasks, generative AI can mimic what an engineer would do through the development cycle.
While development and engineering roles are quickly adapting to these tools in the workplace, Penakalapathy says it will be impossible for the tools to completely replace humans. More likely, we’ll see a reduction in the number of developers and engineers needed to create a piece of software.
Whether it’s a piece of code you’re writing, whether you’re testing how users interact with your software, or whether you’re designing software and choosing certain colors from a color palette, you’re always going to need someone, a human, to help in the process,” Penakalapathy said.
Those working with knowledge can benefit from ChatGPT
Although GPT and AI will have a strong impact on more roles than others, the inclusion of these tools will affect every knowledge worker, commonly referred to as anyone who uses or processes information in their job, according to Michael Chui, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute.
These technologies make it possible to create first drafts very quickly, of all sorts of different things, whether it’s writing, generating computer code, creating images, video and music,” Chui said. “You can imagine that almost any knowledge professional could benefit from this technology, and certainly the technology provides speed with those kinds of capabilities.”
A recent study by OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, found that approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce could use at least 10% of their work tasks affected by the introduction of learning models into GPT technology, while approximately 19% of workers could see 50% of their tasks affected.
Chewie says that workers today can’t remember a time when they didn’t have tools like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word, so somehow we can predict that workers in the future won’t be able to imagine a world of work without AI and GPT tools.
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