OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT, a new AI tool that can write code and tell stories, around the end of last month.
It could take over some jobs that people do now, like writing email copy, answering customer service questions, writing news reports, drafting legal documents, etc.
Modern jobs will be at risk
from automation as AI advances.
But AI also brings new opportunities, as it will lead to the creation of new businesses, jobs, and organizations. The real question is how we will adapt, not if AI will be capable enough to handle more cognitive work.
Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize, is the world’s leading expert on how people make decisions. He has spent his whole life showing how flawed our judgment is. Yes, AI may have shortcomings, but so does human reasoning.
Kahneman stated in 2021 that “clearly AI is going to win” as a result. “A fascinating problem is how people adjust.”
The key to adapting is finding ways to change our economic institutions so that they involve everyone who works. To do that, systemic solutions are needed that don’t only divide the same duties between humans and machines.
Take maps as an example
About ten years ago, we started using this technology to direct us from one place to another.
The AI takes into account when roads are closed, how busy they are, and the driver’s preferences for tolls and turns, but driving itself doesn’t change much. One early adopter of these automated directions was the taxi industry.
With the help of cell phones, taxi drivers could find better ways to get to their destinations. The taxi industry developed a point solution that did the same thing as the established taxi industry, but better, using digital dispatch and AI-based driving directions.
Uber and Lyft
However, they used the same infrastructure to accomplish something completely novel. They developed a totally new ride-hailing system rather than improving dispatch and directions.
Instead of focusing on better dispatch and signage, they created a brand new ride-hailing system. They knew that, thanks to accurate driving directions and the popularity of cell phones, anyone could offer ride services.
There were many more people with driving abilities comparable to those of professional drivers. In the United States, there were roughly 200,000 professional taxi and limo drivers five years ago.
Today, there are more than ten times as many people driving just for Uber (approximately 3.5 million in the U.S.).
But it took more improvements in security, location tracking, pricing, dispatch, and a wide range of other areas to bring this much larger workforce into the system. The entire system required adjustment.
The Next Era
Similar to this, new generative language models suggest that we may soon have machines that can write out concepts clearly in grammatically sound paragraphs. Many more people will be able to write effectively as a result.
Because AI has made the rest of the population better at what they do, those of us who depend on our ability to understand English grammar and rhetorical devices may lose out.
AI writing will also alter systems, much as AI mapping led to the creation of Uber rather than just better cabs.
Giving almost everyone the ability to write clearly and well will change who is qualified for which jobs.
We don’t yet know how the system solutions from these massive language models will look or what business models they will open.
Not only ChatGPT but other AI tools appear to be faster and more adept than humans at some creative tasks.
If you ask for a picture of a cat playing on a phone on an airplane, it will quickly deliver one. Scale opens up the possibility of graphic design.
Presentations in high school get more visual. Still unknown are the exact system solutions that will be unlocked, but millions of people getting better at making and editing images will have a big effect on the economy.
But the genie will not be returned to the bottle. Technology will keep getting better, and we need to use the new skills for the good of society. To do so, we must first determine what new systems can be built with these new tools.