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  • Writer's pictureDanielle van Hout

Eye on AI - January 27th, 2023

Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!


With ChatGPT gaining momentum, our focus this week turns to the impact of conversational AI on the job market and the unseen threat of AI-curated content on our ability to think humanly. Enjoy!


ChatGPT Is Helping Brands, But Will It Also Replace Jobs?

We begin with a look at the impact of ChatGPT, the popular AI text generator recently released by OpenAI that can write coherent essays, code, legal documents, and more while interacting convincingly with humans. According to the article “AI ChatGPT is helping CEOs think. Will it also take your job?” ChatGPT’s popularity has many wondering if their jobs may be threatened.

“[it has] massive consequences for a host of different activities... pretty much any domain where there is grammar, an organized way of expressing yourself,” said renowned economist and MIT fellow Paul Kedrosky on a recent podcast. “That could be software engineering, that could be high school essays, that could be legal documents, where all of them are easily eaten by this voracious beast and spit back out again."

Already leaders have begun utilizing ChatGPT like an assistant, helping to streamline tasks, create new marketing material, generate competitive research, and more. Tools like ChatGPT help them to be more thoughtful in their approach to business challenges. This form of technology will have a significant impact on lower to mid-level workers. Chatbots are already proficient at generating letters for HR, boilerplate text, basic advertising & marketing copy, and first-draft copy. Jobs that require such labor will be threatened as more companies make use of ChatGPT and similar solutions.

“It's truly an amazing leap in technology and innovation,” said Columbia Business School professor Oded Netzer. “From what we've seen, it was one of those moments that happens very rarely in technology and innovation, where you experience it and you say, 'the world will never be the same as it was before.'”

That said, it’s not all doom-and-gloom for the job market. Conversational AI will also open new professional opportunities that require unique skill sets, just as any big leap in innovation has done in the past. Jobs that require advanced critical thinking may become more valuable and numerous as conversational AI helps automate more routine tasks.

“What ChatGPT cannot yet do — and might never be able to do, many experts think — are tasks that require the many gradations of human judgment applied to a range of problems and other cognitive challenges,” writes CBS News contributor Megan Cerullo. “Take, for example, a chart or table showing an underperforming company's metrics. ChatGPT could summarize the data and tell a user what the chart shows. What it can't do — yet — is explain why the data is meaningful.”

Is AI Eroding Our Ability to Think Critically?

Speaking of critical thinking, have you ever wondered whether the AI content curation of your social media or news feed may be eroding your ability to think independently? I have. According to the Forbes article “Is AI Eroding Our Ability To Think?” the daily curation of images, video, and content we experience without even realizing it (think Google Search, LinkedIn, and YouTube algorithms, all of which use AI for content curation) may be reshaping the way we think.

“... given the complete lack of transparency [in AI curation], we do not know why certain images are being selected," said artist Fabienne Hess when speaking about her art collection, the Dataset of Loss, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in London. “These algorithmic selections are deciding what people see, determining what they are exposed to, and driving their cultural reality—which most people do not realize.”

Smartphone Maps, which have largely removed our need to use our own wits to navigate and provide us with turn-by-turn instructions, are a great example. People today are less familiar with driving routes than ten, twenty years ago because we’re now reliant on digital maps; taxi drivers that used to have to pass challenging driving-route exams are losing jobs to Uber drivers who rely on phone-driven satellite navigation. On a larger level, the majority of content we experience online is curated for us by AI in some form, from the news stories we’re being fed to the movies we’re being recommended and the ads we see.

“There is not much evidence that the rise of AI has been leveraged in some way to elevate our curiosity or intellectual development, or that we are becoming any wiser,” writes UCLA’s Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in his recent book I, Human. “Our lives seem not just predicted, but also dictated by AI.”

This constant AI-generated curation, Chamorro-Premuzic argues, means that we are far from becoming freed by automation, which was the hope for AI, and are instead surrendering our own humanity to it; our very identities are being collapsed into categories machines use to understand and predict our behavior. One way to help ensure that AI is used as a liberator and not an entrapment tool is through data privacy (down with the 3rd party cookie!). The AI Bill of Rights, recently released by the White House, made strides in that direction. Let’s hope it snowballs into a larger movement.

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