How Will ChatGPT Impact Your Career?
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a chatbot. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a human conversation. They all respond to natural language input, but different programs respond in different ways.
Some chatbots are relatively simple, capable only of responding to an inquiry with a preprogrammed message or a link to further assistance. Other chatbots may be able to continue a more detailed discussion and direct a user to other resources.
For someone unfamiliar with the chatbot ChatGPT, perhaps the best way to describe it is to describe its functionalities. While ChatGPT provides chat functions like other programs of its type, it is significantly more powerful than other versions. It can summarize articles, solve math problems, and write content. It can even write in a particular person’s style, given that it has seen examples of it.
ChatGPT-3, the newest version, can also perform tasks it was not directly taught to do, like translate English to French. According to Alex Tamkin and Deep Ganguli from Stanford University, this dramatic increase in functionality is the result of a 100-time increase in the number of parameters: whereas GPT-2 had 1.5 billion parameters, GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters.
ChatGPT has its drawbacks, however. A victim of its own success, the service is commonly down due to a flurry of activity. As a free user, you are subject to the luck of the draw, but with a ChatGPT plus plan for $20 per month, you receive priority access when the site is down.
Additionally, ChatGPT is unable to generate real-time data, because it has only been trained on data up to September 2021. For certain tasks, this may mean that another service can provide a more desirable result.
The proliferation of AI chatbots
Alongside ChatGPT, other companies have been racing to get in on the AI chatbot trend. Microsoft, Google, and others have also been developing their own AI chatbots, all based on large language models.
The main reason for this craze is that advanced chatbots can increase sales significantly for businesses: according to one analysis, by up to 67%. Companies like Google claim additionally that these chatbots can allow people to find more accurate information faster, expanding information access.
But chatbots have a dark side, and it’s not just the fact that 87% of consumers in the above study still prefer speaking to a human. The introduction of technology that not only has the gift of gab but can also write, paint, and philosophize has wide-ranging consequences.
In particular, this technology may threaten some peoples’ jobs. Google search predictions filled with queries like “Will AI replace artists?”, “Will AI replace programmers?” and “Will AI take over jobs?” reflect this anxiety.
While the future of technology is inherently hard to predict, the outpouring of articles like this one predicting which jobs are most likely to be replaced by AI suggests that programs like ChatGPT could eliminate certain jobs while also depressing wages for others.
What will ChatGPT’s impact be?
The introduction of any new technology, historically speaking, has impacts on the job market. These impacts, however, often prove to be less exaggerated than people fear. Those who are able to adapt alongside the technology fare well, while other workers are left behind.
A Brookings Institute report provides an important clarification regarding technology’s impact on jobs: workers who can complement the new technology receive higher wages, while workers whose work merely replicates or substitutes the work of technology find themselves marginalized.
Let’s look at programming as an example. ChatGPT, along with other chatbots like Open AI, have shown more advanced programming abilities than ever before: Open AI even recently passed the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, an important entry-level certification for developers.
Although this may seem quite alarming to many in the field, particularly entry-level developers, chatbots’ programming abilities are still limited. While they are capable of producing some rudimentary and repetitive programs, they still have difficulty with complex programming frameworks. This gap is where a human developer still is essential for the satisfactory completion of a program.
While the future outlook for programmers is perhaps not as gloomy as some articles predict, it is still likely that the demand for programmers will decrease due to automation. Some positions may be eliminated, while wages for those that remain may ultimately go down. On the other hand, the increased use of AI will probably lead to new positions in the field, such as for those who can help to bridge the gap between people and technology.
Other fields also predict that AI’s impact on employment will be more positive than negative. Some freelance writers, for example, foresee that AI will be more of a tool for professionals to use rather than an independent source of ideas. Grammarly, an application many freelance writers already use, is already used to assist writers, and programs like ChatGPT could work the same way.
Though the impact of chatbots on each industry or job position is unique, one can observe a general trend towards increased human-technology interaction. Ultimately, the word “automation” is most likely too dramatic of a word to describe the impact of artificial intelligence: instead, we may envision adaptation or collaboration as the future outlook.
At the end of the day, ChatGPT, or any chatbot for that matter, is not a sentient being and cannot create ideas, put thoughts into context, or synthesize information creatively. Hopefully, ChatGPT provides an overall net positive effect on the world.
While some in the technology arena believe that in the face of AI, the only option is to adapt or else become obsolete, you could counter that technology is a tool, and we should exercise caution in discerning what powers we would like to give it. As has been demonstrated in this article, AI chatbots like ChatGPT can provide a lot of help to people in their work and everyday lives.
However, to prevent the most negative consequences of these chatbots, including layoffs, lowered wages, and their combined ripple effects, we must carefully choose the technologies we employ and speak out when we believe technology does more harm than good. Humankind is not a passive object, simply receiving new technology without being able to control it; we have agency, and it is imperative that we enact it to build the world we would like to live in.
Matthew is a freelance content writer whose work has previously appeared in well-known language-learning blog Fluent in 3 Months and The Happy Self-Publisher. His creative work has also appeared in Otoliths, CafeLit, and the Eunoia Review. He is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan, where he is studying for a master's degree in Chinese Literature.