ChatGPT took their job. Now they walk the dogs and fix the air conditioners.

When ChatGPT came out last November, Olivia Lipkin, a 25-year-old copywriter in San Francisco, didn’t think too much of it. Then, articles about how to use the chatbot in the workplace began appearing on internal Slack groups at the tech start-up where she worked as the company’s sole writer.

Over the next few months, Lipkins’ assignments dwindled. Managers started calling her Olivia/ChatGPT on Slack. In April, she was fired without explanation, but when she discovered that managers were writing about how using ChatGPT was cheaper than paying a writer, the reason for her firing seemed clear.

Whenever people talked about ChatGPT, I felt insecure and anxious that he would replace me, he said. Now I actually had proof that it was true, that those anxieties were justified, and now I was effectively out of a job due to AI.

Some economists predict that artificial intelligence technology like ChatGPT could replace hundreds of millions of jobs, in a cataclysmic reorganization of the workforce that mirrors the industrial revolution.

For some workers, this impact is already there. Marketing and social media content writers are among the first wave of people being replaced with tools like chatbots, seemingly capable of producing plausible alternatives to their jobs.

Experts say even advanced AI is no match for a human’s writing skills: it lacks a personal voice and style, and often produces wrong, nonsensical, or biased answers. But for many businesses, the cost reduction is worth a drop in quality.

We really are at a crisis point, said Sarah T. Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California at Los Angeles who specializes in digital work. [AI] it’s coming for jobs that should have been automation-proof.

Find out why AI like ChatGPT has become so effective, so fast

Artificial intelligence has rapidly increased in quality over the past year, giving rise to chatbots that can hold fluid conversations, write songs and produce computer code. In the rush to integrate the technology, Silicon Valley companies are pushing these products to millions of users and for now often offer them for free.

Artificial intelligence and algorithms have been part of the business world for decades. For years, consumer product companies, grocery stores, and warehouse logistics companies have used predictive algorithms and AI-powered vision robots to make business decisions, automate some routine tasks, and manage inventory. Industrial plants and factories were dominated by robots for much of the 20th century, and countless office tasks were replaced by software.

But the recent wave of generative AI using complex algorithms trained on billions of words and images from the open internet to produce text, images and audio has the potential for a new phase of disruption. The technology’s ability to churn out human-sounding prose puts highly paid knowledge workers in the crosshairs for replacement, experts said.

Journalist Danielle Abril tests columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler to see if he can tell the difference between an email written by her or ChatGPT. (Video: Monica Rodman/The Washington Post)

In every previous automation threat, automation has been about automating the tough, dirty and repetitive jobs, said Ethan Mollick, an associate professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. This time around, the threat of automation is aimed squarely at the most lucrative and creative jobs that require the most educational background.

In March, Goldman Sachs predicted that 18% of work worldwide could be automated by AI, with white-collar workers like lawyers at greater risk than those engaged in activities like construction or maintenance. Occupations for which a significant proportion of workers’ time is spent outdoors or performing physical labor cannot be automated by AI, the report said.

Even the White House has sounded the alarm, saying in a December report that artificial intelligence has the potential to automate non-routine tasks, exposing large swathes of the new workforce to potential disruptions.

ChatGPT “hallucinations”. Some researchers fear it is not fixable.

But Mollick said it’s too soon to assess how disruptive AI will be for the workforce. She noted that jobs such as copywriting, document translation and transcription, and paralegal work are particularly at risk, as they have tasks that can easily be performed by chatbots. Top-notch legal analysis, creative writing or art might not be as easily replaceable, she said, because humans still outperform AI in those areas.

Think of AI as generally acting like a high-level intern, he said. Jobs that are mostly designed as entry-level jobs to introduce you to a field where you do something worthwhile, but it’s also kind of a stepping stone to the next level those are the types of work at risk.

Eric Fein ran his content writing business for 10 years, charging $60 an hour to write everything from 150-word descriptions of bathroom rugs to website copy for cannabis companies. The 34-year-old from Bloomingdale, Illinois built a stable business with 10 ongoing contracts, which made up half of his annual income and provided a comfortable living for his wife and 2-year-old son.

But in March, Fein received a note from its biggest client: Her services would no longer be needed as the company switched to ChatGPT. One by one, nine other Fein contracts were canceled for the same reason. His entire copywriting business went almost overnight.

It blew me away, Fein said. He urged his clients to reconsider, warning that ChatGPT could not write content with his level of creativity, technical accuracy and originality. He said his clients understood this, but they told him it was much cheaper to use ChatGPT than to pay him hourly wages.

Fein was rehired by one of his clients, who was dissatisfied with ChatGPT’s work. But that’s not enough to support him and his family, who have just over six months of financial luck before running out of money.

Now, Fein has decided to take on a job that AI can’t do, and has signed up for courses to become an HVAC technician. Next year he plans to train to be a plumber.

A trade is more future-proof, he said.

The debate about whether AI will destroy us is dividing Silicon Valley

Companies that have replaced workers with chatbots have faced high-profile hurdles. When tech news site CNET used AI to write articles, the results were riddled with errors and required lengthy proofreading. A lawyer who turned to ChatGPT for a legal note cited numerous fictitious cases. And the National Eating Disorders Association, which has fired people who were part of its helpline and reportedly replaced them with a chatbot, has suspended the use of the technology after distributing insensitive and harmful advice.

Roberts said chatbots can make costly mistakes, and companies that rush to incorporate ChatGPT into operations are jumping the gun. Since they work by predicting the statistically most likely word in a sentence, they churn out average content by design. This provides companies with a tough decision, she said: quality versus cost.

We have to ask ourselves: is a fax machine good enough? Is imitation good enough? Is that all we care about? she said. We will lower the measure of quality, and for what purpose? So can the owners and shareholders of the company get a bigger piece of the pie?

Lipkin, the copywriter who discovered he’s been replaced by ChatGPT, is rethinking office work altogether. She initially got into content marketing so she could support herself while she pursued her own creative writing. But she found that her work burned her and made it hard to write for herself. She is now starting a job as a dog sitter.

I’m totally taking a break from the office world, Lipkin said. People are looking for the cheapest solution, and it’s not a person who is a robot.

#ChatGPT #job #walk #dogs #fix #air #conditioners

Leave a Comment