As if there weren’t enough redundancy fears in the tech industry already, add ChatGPT to the list of things workers worry about, reflecting the evolution of this artificial intelligence-based chatbot making its way into the workplace.
According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the tech industry has already shed 5% more jobs this year than in all of 2022.
The layoffs are on track to surpass job losses in 2001, the worst year for tech layoffs due to the dot-com bust.
As layoffs continue to mount, workers are not only afraid of being laid off, they are also afraid of being replaced all together. A recent report by Goldman Sachs found that 300 million jobs around the world will be impacted by AI and automation.
But ChatGPT and AI shouldn’t scare employees because these tools will help people and businesses work more efficiently, according to Sultan Saidov, co-founder and president of Beamery, a global software-as-a-service company for human capital management. which has its own GPT or generative pre-trained transformer called TalentGPT.
“It is already estimated that 300 million jobs will be affected by AI and automation,” Saidov said. “The question is: Does that mean these people are changing jobs or losing their jobs? I think in many cases it is more likely to be changed than lost.”
ChatGPT is a type of GPT tool that uses learning models to generate human-like responses, and Saidov says GPT technology can help employees do more than just have conversations. In the technology industry in particular, certain professions are more affected than others.
Creatives and designers should learn AI skills
Saidov points to creatives in the tech industry, such as designers, video game developers, photographers, and those who create digital images, as those whose jobs are unlikely to be wiped out entirely. It will help those roles get more done and get their jobs done faster, he said.
“If you look back to the Industrial Revolution, when you suddenly had automation in farming, did that mean fewer people would be doing certain jobs in farming?” Saidow said. “Definitely because you’re not going to need that many people in that field, but it just means the same number of people go to different jobs.”
Just like similar trends in history, creative jobs will be in demand after the widespread incorporation of generative AI and other AI technologies in the workplace.
“If the number of games made by video game developers around the world doesn’t change from year to year, you’ll probably need fewer game designers,” Saidov said. “But if you can create more as a company, this technology will only increase the number of games you can make.”
Software developers and engineers will be affected
Because of the ChatGPT excitement, many software developers and engineers are concerned about their job security, leading some to seek new skills and learn how to develop Generative AI and add those skills to their resume.
“It’s unfair to say that GPT will completely eliminate jobs like developers and engineers,” said Sameer Penakalapati, chief executive officer at Ceipal, an AI-driven talent acquisition platform.
But even if these jobs will still exist, their duties and responsibilities could likely be reduced by GPT and generative AI.
According to Penakalapati, a distinction must be made between GPT in particular and generative AI in a broader sense when it comes to the labor market. GPT is a mathematical or statistical model designed to learn patterns and provide results. But other forms of generative AI can go further, reconstructing various outcomes based on patterns and insights, almost mirroring a human brain, he said.
As an example, Penakalapati says if you look at software developers, engineers and testers, GPT can generate code in seconds and give software users and customers exactly what they need without having to relay needs, customizations and fixes back and forth to the development team. GPT can do a programmer’s or tester’s job instantly, rather than the days or weeks it takes a human to generate the same thing, he said.
Generative AI can impact software developers and especially developers (development and operations engineers) more broadly, Penakalapati said, from developing the code through deployment, performing maintenance and updates in software development. With this broader range of tasks, generative AI can mimic what an engineer would do during the development cycle.
While development and engineering roles in the workplace are rapidly adapting to these tools, Penakalapati said it will be impossible for the tools to fully replace humans. It’s more likely that we’ll see a decrease in the number of developers and engineers needed to build a piece of software.
“Whether you’re writing a piece of code, testing how users interact with your software, or designing software and choosing specific colors from a color palette, you always need someone, a human, to help with the process.” said Penakalapati.
Knowledge workers could benefit from ChatGPT
While GPT and AI will heavily impact more roles than others, the incorporation of these tools will impact every knowledge worker, commonly referred to as anyone who uses or processes information in their work, according to Michael Chui, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute.
“These technologies make it possible to create initial drafts of all sorts of things very quickly, whether it’s writing, generating computer code, creating pictures, videos, and music,” Chui said. “You can imagine that almost any knowledge worker can benefit from this technology, and certainly the technology offers speed with these kinds of skills.”
A recent study by OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, found that about 80% of the US workforce could have at least 10% of their work tasks affected by the introduction of learning models in GPT technology, while about 19% of workers could see 50% affected by their duties.
Chui said workers today can’t remember a time when they didn’t have tools like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word, so we can kind of predict that in the future workers can imagine a world of work without AI and GPT tools.
“Even technologies that have greatly increased productivity in the past have not necessarily resulted in fewer people having to work,” Chui said. “The bottom line is that the world will need more and more software.”