AI vs the job market: Experts say tech roles thought 'immune' to automation could face disruption
Some experts cautioned against using AI in 'life or death' industries like the medical field
Artificial intelligence (AI) and technology industry experts claim that ChatGPT and generative AI will cause significant disruptions in the job market, but the impact will vary depending on the field and the decisions made by business leaders.
Goldman Sachs warned in a report Sunday that around the world, as many as 300 million jobs could be impacted by artificial intelligence automation, CNBC reported.
While CEOs and c-suite level employees have long predicted AI would significantly impact jobs requiring manual labor and customer service, the rapid evolution of generative AI like ChatGPT and its ability to debug and create code has illuminated the potential for disturbances in the tech field. This industry has already experienced over 118,000 layoffs in 2023, according to Crunchbase.
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Tom Taulli, the author of "Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction," suggested that some of these layoffs were due to automation technology being able to take over functions and "repetitive processes" in various fields.
"Over the next few years, several professions that we thought may have been immune to this we will find are not," he said.
He said that things like ChatGPT can configure and write the code for programmers, debug problems and even find the most optimal way to lay out the algorithm.
"If you're more of a cut and paste early level programmer you better up your skills. Those are skills that are going to be automated," Taulli added.
Taulli also warned that safeguards need to be implemented for "life and death industries," those involving large cash flows, essentially any heavily regulated industry.
"If you're an airline pilot, and you're using generative AI for the manual, it better be correct, or else maybe the jet crashes," he said.
Founder Prequel CEO Timur Khabirov said that AI is already proving to be "incredibly disruptive" and has made many workers fearful they will become redundant.
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"However, if you look back at technological advancements of the past, while the reduction of labor required to accomplish tasks ushers in change, the demand never goes away," he said. "The move from transportation via horseback to the combustion engine is a good example. People always needed to get from A to B, but one method was simply faster and more efficient."
Greg Kogan, VP of Marketing at Pinecone, a vector database company providing long-term memory for AI, said the impact of AI on the jobs of programmers and software engineers will largely be determined by those in the field. Some companies have already outright banned AI like ChatGPT.
"The way software is programmed is already starting to look drastically different. It's up to each individual programmer if they're going to adapt to this new AI-assisted way of programming or not. The same has been true for every monumental shift in computing for the past century," he told Fox News Digital.
Speaking specifically on engineers, Kogan said those who learn to collaborate with AI to design and build software will survive in the industry and thrive in the coming years.
Though Kogan does not think "any job is safe" from AI, he does not mean every job will be eliminated, merely affected by the evolving technology.
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"Some people talk about hands-on work like construction or farming as being safe, but those people might not realize how much those jobs are already affected by technology, even before AI," he added.
Silicon Valley creative consultant and product designer Viputheshwar Siraraman told Fox News Digital that mathematicians, tax preparers, quantitative financial analysts, writers and web and digital interface designers are likely most vulnerable to AI.
However, he noted that "hallucinations," or falsehoods presented as fact by ChatGPT and other generative AI, indicate these tools are not mature enough to stand independently and create "production-ready assets" without human correction.
Elaborating on his 2019 Ted Talk, Siraman said AI will change job descriptions more than eliminate jobs outright.
"Engineers won't write as much code. Instead, they will manage, debug, and deploy AI-written code, Siraman said. "Doctors won't come up with diagnoses themselves. Instead, they will use AI to correlate symptoms to diagnosis and lawyers won't write legal docs from scratch. Instead, they will guide and revise AI-written contracts."
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Yaniv Makover, the CEO and co-founder of generative AI copywriting platform Anyword, said the technology would change the way we work by eliminating or collapsing certain job functions.
"Mathematicians don't fear calculators - and gen-AI is analogous in this case. Initially, when the calculator was first invented, yes it might have replaced some people who solely did complex calculations, and suddenly it was solved by a calculator," Makover said. "But quickly, mathematicians universally recognized it as a useful tool. Mathematicians today are defining the equations, not solving them."
Speaking on writing-centric jobs like journalism and marketing, Makover said these workers still need to define the message and guide their writing themes. To that point, generative AI is a tool that will make it easier to convey that purpose, but according to Makover, there is still a lot of room for creativity.
"The jobs in the most danger are those that include repetitive information tasks, like customer support, copywriting, processing and organizing data, simple graphic design," Makover said. "Though, in all cases, someone will need to curate and guide whatever the AI spits out. In no case would all jobs in a sector be eliminated. Roles may simply shift to managing, strategizing, and improving how work happens. Tasks may change, but people will still have jobs."
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That might include jobs like social workers, medical professionals, therapists, caretakers, personnel directors and marketing or business strategists.
Makover noted that jobs requiring an understanding of empathy, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, critical decision-making and the capacity to adjust to unforeseen circumstances are "very difficult" for an AI to replicate at this point in time. Jobs with these qualifications include social workers, medical professionals, therapists, caretakers, personnel directors and marketing or business strategists.