AI and the Future of Work | On Careers
Who isn’t a fan of learning? A growth mindset and continuously learning are key competencies for relevance and long-term career success. The same applies for businesses. The ability to change with the times is a primary indicator of a company’s or institution’s viability. Failure to evolve is the path to obsolescence in business and in life – and is usually seen negatively. Learning and growing – as concepts – lead to a warm, positive reaction … until artificial intelligence that “learns” human ways, is thrown in the mix.
Perhaps it is fear of the unknown, but AI as a concept can cause concern. Add the future of work to the AI conversation, and there is often worry that humans are on a path to unemployment. But AI, by definition, stems from and accelerates learning and productivity.
On its website, OpenAI, with products ChatGPT and DALL·E 2, defines its area of focus as: “We build our generative models using a technology called deep learning, which leverages large amounts of data to train an AI system to perform a task.” The tools are intended to improve and enhance human experiences and problem-solving with massive business applications.
Here are some ways AI tools, like ChatGPT and DALL·E 2, will impact careers.
New Career Paths and Options
The Step-by-Step Guide to Career Success
AI technology can take the place of routine or mundane processes, leading to new and possibly more enriching career paths. Cognizant, a leading global consulting firm, reported that a 2022 Economist Impact Survey of 2000 senior executives found the most business-critical priorities companies face require enhanced technology and intelligence to achieve. These priorities included “digital first business model, data-driven operations and mindset, automated and effective end-to-end business processes.”
New job functions, responsibilities and titles are being created at an unprecedented pace because of the impact of AI, machine learning and other technology. The best way to take advantage of these future options is to build an understanding and comfort with how AI and other technology intersect with current business processes.
There will be roles for engineers to build the AI, but there will also be many roles on how to manage, improve and use the results of the technology. For example, you do not need to know how a calculator or a spreadsheet works to be able to use its calculations to improve accuracy and speed for a report.
Augmentation of Your Abilities
Technology makes up for areas we lack. Most of us use tools like search engines (Google or Siri) to make our research efforts more effective. Modern AI will only increase the ways technology can augment our abilities.
For example, if you have writer’s block or struggle with how to frame a topic you need to write about, an AI like ChatGPT can help you get started. Provided it has been given good information, AI tools synthesize exponentially more information than most of us can imagine before providing recommendations.
You still need to review and customize the suggestions for relevance, accuracy, plagiarism, specificity, incorporating your viewpoint, etc. Humans are needed to review and apply the results. The tools improve performance in areas that are not natural strengths.
Minimize Redundant or Less Interesting Work
Similar to the calculator example – where humans can make calculations, but it is accepted that a calculator does it faster and more accurately – AI tools reduce or improve the outcomes of repeatable processes or tasks.
For example, DALL·E 2, another AI tool, creates “original, realistic images and art from a text description. It can combine concepts, attributes, and styles,” according to its website. The benefits of it include the visual expression of what users are thinking – i.e., it can bring a unique or novel idea to life visually. Previously, if you were not an artist or a graphic designer, your options to create a visual representation would require partnership with an artist to create your idea. But now, the tool is accessible to anyone who has a computer and it’s not limited to those who have an artist on staff.
“As artificial intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT become more powerful and widely available, they will likely affect labor market outcomes. Depending on the roles and industries, we can expect algorithms to either complement workers’ competencies and increase their productivity or reduce the employability of humans altogether,” notes the Brookings Institution.
Which Jobs Are Threatened and Which Jobs Are Safe?
Roles that include manual processes that can be easily automated will be at risk (and have been for a while now). For example, if you work at a bank and your primary role is taking deposits, digital banking will continue to decrease the number of tellers needed.
However, if you are responsible for relationship management with customers, product and service recommendations for their unique banking needs, and resolving problems that are not typical, your role will only get better with automation, which can send reminders to contact people, include customized product recommendations and more.
With the recent advancements in writing and visual representation brought about by ChatGPT and DALL·E 2, roles that involve research, writing summaries or templates, or creating visual designs will decline. But roles that require insights and interpretation after reviewing research summaries or weaving visual ideas together to make a campaign or create a persuasive presentation, will increase. Engineers will continue to flourish, but so will the roles that incorporate, interpret, analyze and customize the output of AI technology.
The future of work has ample opportunity, provided workers embrace a growth mindset toward where technology can take us. A key to building a lasting career continues to be a balance between performing well in the roles that are available with an eye toward incorporating future trends and innovations. Those that embrace the forward momentum of technology will continue to be in demand.