Are businesses and media looking at the phenomenon of ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence through the wrong lens?
Much of the debate has been about the hundreds of millions of jobs at risk from AI, ChatGPT and other large language models. What about the other side of the coin? As The Wall Street Journal reported, Bill Gates – no stranger to innovation and disruption – wrote: “The rise of AI will free people up to do things that software never will—teaching, caring for patients and supporting the elderly, for example,”
While Gates did mention AI could replace sales and accounting jobs, the world’s most famous chatbot itself told me those very same salespeople and accountants could use generative AI to automate repetitive data entry and bookkeeping tasks, analyze data, automate customer service processes and identify key selling points.
Venture capitalist Martin Casado noted that some companies are bolting generative AI chatbots onto their old processes with solid effects. But new businesses that can thrive on AI’s generative qualities will generate revenue in the hundreds of millions.
Paris-based journalist and translator Rozena Crossman claims ChatGPT and the like will create work for humans – from double-checking their propensity to spit out erroneous, plausible-sounding nonsense to data labeling to prompt engineering to ethics consultants who ensure AI results don’t introduce bias. She wrote that AI could become its own economic sector with tasks for a variety of workers – something we are already seeing. Job boards are advertising for chatbot managers, machine learning engineers to work with ChatGPT and prompt engineers.
She quotes AI inventor Ronjon Nag: “I think it will be like the industrial revolution, which generated more factory workers. Then automation happened and we needed fewer factory workers, but then we ended up with more factories and more products, so there were still loads of jobs for factory workers.”
Specialized trainers and consultants can help train people on using AI for business. Content creators can query ChatGPT, Google Bard or Bing Chat and use their institutional knowledge to revise content for their particular audiences. According to MIT Technology Review, generative AI could “upskill” experienced workers displaced from office and manufacturing jobs, equipping them with specialized skills in areas where there are plenty of jobs – not to mention adding trillions of dollars of economic growth to the U.S. economy.
Generative AI already is changing how we do business. The revolution is just starting.
Jim Tompkins, Chairman of Tompkins Ventures, is an international authority on designing and implementing end-to-end supply chains. Over five decades, he has designed countless industrial facilities and supply chain solutions, enhancing the growth of numerous companies. He previously built Tompkins International from a backyard startup into an international consulting and implementation firm. Jim earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.