In the past few months, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm.
One model created by Open AI, ChatGPT, has become part of the social media vernacular. This generational AI surpassed one million users in just five days of its launch in November 2022. Now, just four months later, 25 million people are using the AI on a daily basis.
What makes generative AI different from other AI technologies is it does more than prediction; it actually generates content.
“But I think the real power of this technology is the ability to generate new content and generate new code. So, there’s a lot of enormous implications for how we automate our lives even more going forward.”
It can automate “a lot of our day to day processes”, and therefore boost productivity.
In fact, recent research from Goldman Sachs found that generative AI could automate a quarter of the work done in the US and Europe, and therefore spark a productivity boom that would raise global gross domestic product annually by 7% over the next decade.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the bank’s research also found that generative AI could disrupt the labor market and disrupt 300 million full time jobs. Those roles most at risk are lawyers and administrative staff.
Two in three jobs in the US and Europe will be exposed to some degree of AI automation, according to Goldman Sachs.
Other research by OpenAI found that 80% of the US workforce could see 10% of their tasks performed by generative AI, while 19% of workers would see at least 50% of their roles impacted.
Interestingly, this impact is across all wage levels; with higher-income workers possibly being more exposed and disrupted.
Is generative AI coming for your job?
Goldman Sach’s research found that 7% of US workers are at risk of being replaced because more than 50% of their tasks can be done by generative AI. A study by Aspire found that 29% of people are skeptical of generative AI, and are worried about being replaced by technology.
These are valid concerns – since 2000, around 1.7 million manufacturing jobs globally have been lost because of technology – but how big of a threat is generative AI to people’s jobs and the global unemployment rate?
UNLEASH sat down with HR experts to find out their views.
Fountain CEO Sean Behr comments that over the past ten years, the conversations or “conventional wisdom” around automation and technology at work has been linked with manual labor.
But “generative AI is different” – as the OpenAI research states, these technologies are more likely to disrupt knowledge work than manual labor.
“Generative AI will be valuable in crafting emails, scheduling meetings, organizing and analyzing data”; “but it likely won’t do it all – humans will need to direct and discern”, according to Behr.
James Owen, co-founder of Click Intelligence, states: “Generative AI does have the potential to automate many routine and repetitive tasks in the workplace” – “as such, there are very valid concerns about job displacement”, particularly as the technology continues to innovate and become more powerful.
But “AI is not a perfect substitute for human workers, and it currently lacks the creativity, intuition, and empathy that are crucial for certain types of jobs”, adds Owen.
University of Nottingham professor of computer science Steve Benford shares: “Today’s AIs have been trained in advance and are limited by the choice of data they are trained on. They also struggle to learn and adapt dynamically, to cope with extreme uncertainty and to improvise.
“However, it is important to consider how their potential strengths – being tireless and patient and seeing through different eyes – might complement our human capabilities.”
The benefits of generative AI
Ultimately, rather than replacing humans, generative AI will actually just help humans to do their jobs better; “AI is more likely to augment human capabilities rather than replace them entirely”, states Owen.
“We’re not looking to replace humans, but rather to enhance them,” adds professor Benford.
“AI presents an opportunity for machine to take away more of the routine tasks and leave more time for creativity and innovation” – it also enables human to “work smarter, rest longer and play harder”, according to British Standards Institution’s director of data science and AI Craig Civil.
Folderly’s founder and CEO Vladislav Podolyako agrees. “Generative AI won’t steal our jobs. Instead, it will revolutionize them.
“I am convinced AI is a game changer for productivity. But it will not replace human expertise; it will amplify it.”
“AI-powered tools help workers achieve stellar results – they do it faster, efficiency soars. With AI and human labor joining forces, new opportunities arise”.
In addition, generative AI could actually create new jobs, such as in data analysis, software development and machine learning. Aspire’s study confirms this – 45% of respondents think generative AI will help them do their jobs better and 11% think it’ll create new jobs.
Vulse CEO Rob Illidge agrees on job creation, but also notes that the reaction towards generative AI should be to upskill and reskill workers.
Podolyako agrees: “Generative AI can disrupt some job roles. Routine tasks are vulnerable. To counter-act this, we need to invest in workforce development – upskilling and reskilling programs are vital [to] help workers adapt to an evolving job market”.
Gemma Dale, Liverpool Business School lecturer, adds: “There is no doubt that we’re seeing only the beginning of some fundamental technology related shifts. The implications are huge on organizations, but also institutions like schools and universities that need to equip the future workforce for a new normal (again)”.
At the end of the day, it is impossible to predict the future disruption, “but the future is looking interesting”, concludes Dale.
The International Festival of HR is back! Discover amazing speakers from the world of HR and business at UNLEASH America on 26-27 April 2023.
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