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- ChatGPT is only a few months old and already causing waves in the business world.
- Experts say ChatGPT and related AI could threaten some jobs, particularly white-collar ones.
- Insider compiled a list of 10 jobs this technology could replace, according to experts.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI could be coming to take our jobs.
Since its release in November of last year, the impressive AI chatbot has been used to write cover letters, create a children’s book, and even help students cheat on their essays.
The chatbot may be more powerful than we ever imagined. Google found that, in theory, the search engine would hire the bot as an entry-level coder if it interviewed at the company. Amazon employees who tested ChatGPT said that the chatbot does a “very good job” at answering customer support questions, is “great” at making training documents, and is “very strong” at answering queries around corporate strategy.
ChatGPT, however, isn’t perfect. Users of ChatGPT found that the bot can generate misinformation, incorrectly answer coding problems, and produce errors in basic math.
“AI will never be as good as the best experts in a field,”one Wharton business school professor said.
But despite its flaws, the rise of ChatGPT has sparked debates over whether it will replace jobs.
The conversation on whether AI will automate jobs is nothing new. A 2013 University of Oxford study found that 47% of US jobs could be eliminated by AI over the next 20 years. While this prediction appears to have been off-base, the idea that emerging AI technologies like ChatGPT could infringe on people’s jobs — especially white-collar ones — is becoming an even more tangible reality, Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute who has researched AI’s impact on the American workforce, told Insider.
“It has really captured people’s imaginations and made tangible how this could play out,” Muro said.
While Muro doesn’t think that AI will replace millions of jobs anytime soon, he said that white-collar workers “appear to be more exposed to these technologies” than blue-collar workers and may be required to use AI to help do their jobs in the near future.
Anu Madgavkar, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, an economic research hub, agrees. Human judgement still needs to be applied to these technologies to avoid error and bias, she told Insider.
“We have to think about these things as productivity enhancing tools, as opposed to complete replacements,” Madgavkar said.
Still, Muro expects that AI will only get cheaper and become more advanced in the future, which could potentially disrupt white-collar work as we know it.
Insider talked to experts and conducted research to compile a list of jobs that are at highest-risk for replacement by AI.
Here are the 10 jobs that AI may replace, based on our research.
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Coding and computer programming are in-demand skills, but it’s possible that ChatGPT and similar AI tools may fill in some of the gaps in the near future.
Tech jobs such as software developers, web developers, computer programmers, coders, and data scientists are “pretty amenable” to AI technologies “displacing more of their work,” Madgavkar said.
That’s because AI like ChatGPT is good at crunching numbers with relative accuracy.
In fact, advanced technologies like ChatGPT could produce code faster than humans, which means that work can be completed with fewer employees, Muro said.
“What took a team of software developers might only take some of them,” he added.
Tech companies like ChatGPT maker’s OpenAI are already considering replacing software engineers with AI.
Still, Oded Netzer, a Columbia Business School professor, thinks that AI will help coders rather than replace them.
“In terms of jobs, I think it’s primarily an enhancer than full replacement of jobs,” Netzer told CBS MoneyWatch. “Coding and programming is a good example of that. It actually can write code quite well.”
Media jobs across the board — including those in advertising, technical writing, journalism, and any role that involves content creation — may be affected by ChatGPT and similar forms of AI, Madgavkar said. That’s because AI is able to read, write, and understand text-based data well, she added.
“Analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of language based data and information is a skill that you’d expect generative AI technologies to ramp up on,” Madgavkar said.
Economist Paul Krugman said in a New York Times op-ed that ChatGPT may be able to do tasks like reporting and writing “more efficiently than humans.”
The media industry is already beginning to experiment with AI-generated content. Tech news site CNET used an AI tool similar to ChatGPT to write dozens of articles — though the publisher has had to issue a number of corrections — and BuzzFeed announced that it will use tech from the ChatGPT maker to generate new forms of content.
But Madgavkar said that the majority of work done by content creators is not automatable.
“There’s a ton of human judgment that goes into each of these occupations,” she said.
Like media roles, jobs in the legal industry such as paralegals and legal assistants are responsible for consuming large amounts of information, synthesizing what they learned, then making it digestible through a legal brief or opinion.
Language-oriented roles like these are susceptible to automation, Madgavkar said.
“The data is actually quite structured, very language-oriented, and therefore quite amenable to generative AI,” she added.
But again, AI won’t fully be able to automate these jobs since it requires a degree of human judgement to understand what a client or employer wants.
“It’s almost like a bit of a productivity boost that some of these occupations might get, because you can use tools that actually do this better,” Madgavkar said.
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AI is good at analyzing data and predicting outcomes, Muro said. That is why market research analysts may be susceptible to AI-driven change.
Market research analysts are responsible for collecting data, identifying trends within that data, and then using what they found to design an effective marketing campaign or decide where to place advertising.
“Those are things that we’re now seeing that AI could handle,” Muro said.
Teachers across the country are worried about students using ChatGPT to cheat on their homework, but according to Pengcheng Shi, an associate dean in the department of computing and information sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, they should also be thinking about their job security.
ChatGPT “can easily teach classes already,” Shi told the New York Post.
“Although it has bugs and inaccuracies in terms of knowledge, this can be easily improved,” he said. “Basically, you just need to train the ChatGPT.”
Like market research analysts, financial analysts, personal financial advisors, and other jobs in personal finance that require manipulating significant amounts of numerical data can be affected by AI, Muro, the researcher at The Brookings Institute, said.
“AI can identify trends in the market, highlight what investments in a portfolio are doing better and worse, communicate all that, and then use various other forms of data by, say, a financial company to forecast a better investment mix,” Muro said.
These analysts make a lot of money, he said, but parts of their jobs are automatable.
AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey
The Rochester Institute of Technology’s Shi also told the New York Post that certain Wall Street roles could be in jeopardy as well.
“At an investment bank, people are hired out of college, and spend two, three years to work like robots and do Excel modeling — you can get AI to do that,” he said.
courtesy of Nguyen
In a December Harvard Business Review post, three professors pointed to DALL-E, an AI tool that can generate images in seconds, as a potential disruptor of the graphic design industry.
“Upskilling millions of people in their ability to create and manipulate images will have a profound impact on the economy,” they wrote, adding that “these recent advances in AI will surely usher in a period of hardship and economic pain for some whose jobs are directly impacted and who find it hard to adapt.”
Accounting is generally viewed as a stable profession, but even employees in this industry could be at risk.
“Technology hasn’t put everybody out of a job yet, but it does put some people out of a job,” Brett Caraway, associate professor with the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto, said on Global News Radio 640 Toronto last week.
Caraway added that “intellectual labor” in particular could be threatened.
“This could be lawyers, accountants,” he said. “It is something new, and it will be interesting to see just how disruptive and painful it is to employment and politics.”
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You’ve probably already experienced calling or chatting with a company’s customer service, and having a robot answer. ChatGPT and related technologies could continue this trend.
A 2022 study from the tech research company Gartner predicted that chatbots will be the main customer service channel for roughly 25% of companies by 2027.