AI chatbot ChatGPT has sparked fears that artificial intelligence could automate millions of jobs.
Zak Saidi, Creative Director and AI Lead at creative agency IZSRI, which is already using AI to automate some writing tasks, says the impact of AI will be felt across many industries over the next three years.
He said he already uses ChatGPT to design written content and other AI tools for attentional marketing and social media trend spotting.
ChatGPT has hit 100 million users just two months after launch — by comparison, it took TikTok nine months to reach the milestone — and secured a $10 billion investment from Microsoft.
So which jobs are most likely to be replaced by “Generative AI”? And how soon could it happen?
Copywriter and blogger
Copywriters and bloggers could soon be out of work due to AI tools like ChatGPT – but an expert says the most talented human writers will remain in demand (file photo)
Copywriters, bloggers and people who produce online copy could be among the first to fall into the AI revolution, Saidi believes.
He says: “We work with a lot of copywriters and there is certainly a lot of talk in the industry about replacing copywriters with AI technology.
“ChatGPT is free, copywriters aren’t – we expect more and more tech-savvy small businesses will turn to ChatGPT and its AI counterparts as they create more content.”
Buzzfeed announced earlier this year that it would use ChatGPT to generate some online content.
Tech site CNET faced controversy last month after it was revealed the site had used AI to generate articles. Some of these articles were then riddled with errors.
According to AI-powered content creation platform Jasper, tens of thousands of customers have used their software to create ads, blogs, and marketing emails.
But the future isn’t quite so bleak for highly skilled copywriters, Saidi said.
“Nothing, we believe, can replace human creativity. As it stands, ChatGPT generates very generic content,” he explained.
“But it’s still a major concern for some copywriters that as this technology develops in its sophistication, many companies will at some point turn to AI to provide their content writing services.”
Artificial intelligence will lead to “serious job losses” across the retail sector, Saidi believes.
“As we’ve seen, cashiers, customer service assistants, and personal shoppers are slowly being replaced by AI bots – powered by exactly the same type of artificial learning technology that ChatGPT operates on,” he said.
Artificial intelligence specialist Standard AI this year acquired self-checkout company Skip with a goal of creating “autonomous retail” to “provide retailers with immediate relief from their work-related challenges,” according to the company.
Saidi says: “In some respects, it can be said that AI serves to free workers from the lighter tasks and give them the time to take on more managerial and creative roles.
“But we have to keep in mind that there are only a limited number of managers who can run retail stores!”
Software engineers and cybersecurity experts
Not only can ChatGPT produce persuasive text in English, but it can also write computer code in languages like Python.
Demonstrations provided by OpenAI show ChatGPT debugging code in response to prompts.
ChatGPT maker OpenAI also creates another version, Codex, specifically for writing machine code that Microsoft uses in its GitHub Copilot.
According to Saidi, such technology could have an immediate and far-reaching impact on developers – and even cybersecurity professionals.
“Well, this is where we can start worrying a little, even if applications like ChatGPT are still in their rudimentary form,” he continued.
“ChatGPT generates lines of HTML code without having to think and resolves complex errors in a code sequence infinitely faster than a human.
“In a way, this calls into question the role of the supporting software engineer.
“While you still need a human to plan a software development project, ChatGPT can act as a crucial tool for fixing buggy code and building basic applications – a role formerly reserved for young software engineers.”
OpenAI is currently hiring hundreds of developers to “train” the AI to improve its programming skills.
Cybercriminals already boast of using tools like ChatGPT to automate everything from writing malware to creating dark web markets – and Saidi says AI tools could disrupt the work of cybersecurity professionals.
Graphic designers and visual artists
Graphic designers could also be replaced by AI tools, with tools like Dall-E creating around 2 million new images every day (file photo)
Graphics tools like Dall-E, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney could impact the livelihoods of designers, illustrators and visual artists, says Saidi.
Dall-E (also powered by OpenAI) generates 2 million images per day, the company announced last year.
Midjourney sparked controversy when it won an art competition at the Colorado State Fair.
Image giant Getty Images has taken legal action against Stability AI, the maker of Stable Diffusion, over claims of having copied millions of its images.
Saidi says the ability to produce images cheaply and quickly will make this technology very enticing for small businesses that don’t have the budget to pay graphic designers, artists or illustrators.
Saidi says, “It certainly challenges the role of graphic designers and illustrators. As with ChatGPT, the images can be generic and difficult to refine, but with a little work and tweaking you can achieve some stunning visuals.
“Many still believe, and rightly so, that human creativity will always be at the heart of design, with some creators looking to AI for artistic inspiration rather than a replacement for their assistant.”
More roles in engineering?
As this technology displaces current roles in retail and marketing, Saidi believes it will create new roles in technology companies.
He says, “We are anticipating and witnessing a huge hiring drive in the tech industry, which is likely to see many of the retail and administrative staff replaced by the adoption of AI.”
Which jobs will be immune from the AI revolution?
Andy Wadsworth, director of IT recruitment firm The Bridge, part of Morson Group, says: “Services like ChatGPT are the public’s first window into what Pandora’s box could be like Industrial Revolution 3.0: there will be winners and losers, and No doubt some jobs will be replaced by AI, but it will be those companies and individuals that learn to use generative AI and adapt to this brave new world that will be the winners.
The most resilient roles will be those that require personal interaction and physical skills that AI cannot replace. Trades such as plasterers, electricians, mechanics, etc. and services – from hairdressers to pedicurists – will continue to be dependent on human understanding of tasks and human performance.
Hospitality, for example, will continue to need people as cooks, waiters, maids, etc., and healthcare, we will continue to need doctors, nurses, dentists, and the multitude of medical specialists who serve us.
In the knowledge-based economy, ChatGPT and the technologies that follow represent the greatest threat…but also the greatest opportunity.
Currently, this AI skill is equivalent to a toddler being taught how to behave and what to do.
And just like a toddler, it learns exponentially – with every interaction and everything we put into it, ChatGPT becomes more powerful and builds on experience.
The global community drives how fast ChatGPT learns and what it learns, so the jobs that are replaced or evolved fastest will depend very much on how people use the technology.
Whether this technology becomes a threat or an opportunity depends on who uses it and how – as a Force it has the limitless potential of a Jedi, as well as the ability to turn to the dark side.