The launch of ChatGPT marked an important advance in the public's exposure to AI tools and generative AI. It was like a Genie that could perform tasks at our whims. We started using it not realizing that it could also cover tasks for us.
Slowly people started to raise their concerns over the usage of ChatGPT and what followed was concerns of job replacement by ChatGPT and Generative AI. A new study from the UN agency International Labour Organization talks about this concern.
Will Chatgpt Replace Jobs?
The report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is projected to have a more constructive role in the job market, primarily augmenting tasks rather than replacing entire job roles. The study, titled "Generative AI and Jobs: Analyzing Effects on Job Quantity and Quality," delves into the potential influence of generative AI, like ChatGPT, on various job sectors.
What is generative AI and how does it differ from other types of AI?
Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that is capable of generating new content, such as text, images, and videos, that is similar to content created by humans. Generative AI is different from other types of AI, such as rule-based AI and supervised learning AI, because it does not rely on pre-programmed rules or training data to generate new content. Instead, generative AI uses large neural networks to learn patterns and relationships in data and generate new content based on that learning. The latest models of generative AI, such as Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), have shown an increasing capability to carry out "novel and difficult tasks that span mathematics, coding, vision, medicine, law, psychology, and more" and a general ability to produce responses exhibiting some forms of early "reasoning".
Shaping the Future of Work
The ILO study reveals a significant insight – Generative AI's potential lies in enhancing tasks and coexisting alongside human professionals. Contrary to the notion of job displacement, this advanced technology is expected to compliment and amplify human capabilities, contributing to the evolution of job dynamics.
How Are Different Job Groups Affected by AI?
One striking revelation from the study is the impact on clerical work. This category faces the highest exposure to technological advancements, with approximately a quarter of tasks falling under the "highly exposed" category and over half categorized as "medium exposure." In contrast, job groups like managers, professionals, and technicians have fewer tasks with high exposure and a quarter of tasks with medium exposure.
Global Variances in AI's Influence
The research takes a global perspective and identifies divergent effects across nations with varying economic statuses and technological landscapes. High-income countries appear to have around 5.5 percent of their employment susceptible to automation, whereas low-income countries only face a 0.4 percent risk. However, the potential for augmentation through Generative AI is fairly consistent across countries, showcasing an opportunity for positive transformation with suitable policies.
What's the Gender Impact of Generative AI?
The study highlights gender-specific repercussions related to Generative AI. Women's employment is predicted to be twice as affected by automation compared to men, largely attributed to their concentration in clerical roles, particularly in middle and high-income countries. This could potentially lead to certain clerical jobs becoming obsolete in lower-income nations, impacting female employment opportunities.
What Policies Can Manage the Shift Towards AI Integration?
Policymakers and businesses can prepare for the impact of generative AI on the labor market by implementing proper policies. The study argues that the socioeconomic impacts of generative AI will largely depend on how its diffusion is managed. Therefore, policymakers should focus on power balance, the voice of the workers affected by labor market adjustments, respect for existing norms and rights, and adequate use of national social protection and skills training systems. Without proper policies in place, there is a risk that only some of the well-positioned countries and market participants will be able to harness the benefits of the transition, while the costs to affected workers could be brutal.
The ILO report emphasizes the pivotal role of strategic diffusion in shaping the societal impact of Generative AI. Effective policies are needed to ensure a smooth and equitable transition. Prioritizing workers' input, enhancing skill development, and establishing comprehensive social safety nets are key components to navigating this transformative era. Failing to address these concerns could result in only a select few countries and stakeholders benefiting from this technological leap.
Why is a Human-Centric Approach to AI Transition Vital?
The study underscores a critical point – the consequences of this technological shift are not predetermined. It's human decision-making that drives the incorporation of such advancements, and human guidance is essential throughout the transition process. The power to shape the outcomes of this transformation lies in the hands of individuals, organizations, and policymakers.
Generative AI stands poised to revolutionize the world of work, primarily as an augmenting force rather than a disruptive one. By capitalizing on its potential while implementing thoughtful policies, society can ensure that this technological wave leads to enhanced job quality, productivity, and a balanced distribution of benefits across nations and demographics.