jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

Future Work and AI

I’ve been trying to wrap my small monkey brain around what ChatGPT will mean in the long run. I’m going to try to think this through here. In many ways the advances we’ve seen in AI this past year perpetuate the automation trend that’s existed since… well, since humans started creating technology. I’ve seen arguments that seem to be on two ends of a spectrum, that the AI is often wrong and unreliable, and we shouldn’t use it for anything important, to AI is so good that it’s going to put us all out of jobs. As with most truths, I think the reality is somewhere in between.

It’s my opinion that jobs that AI can replace, it probably will replace a lot of. But not all. Referring back to our discussion about the current state of Apple news sites, if the site is a content farm pumping out low-value articles for hit counts and views, I can see AI handling that. If your site is well thought out opinions and reviews about things around the Apple ecosystem, that I think will be safe. Because it’s the person’s opinion that gives the site value.

For more enterprise-y jobs, I could see fewer low and mid-level developers. Fewer managers, fewer secretaries, fewer creatives. Not all gone, but certainly less than before. If your job is to create stock photos and put together slide shows, you might want to expand your skill set a bit.

I think… the kind of jobs that will survive are the type that bring real value. The kind of value that can’t be replicated by a computer. Not just the generation of some text or code, but coming up with the why. What needs to be made, and why does it need to be made?

Maybe AI will help free us up to concentrate on solving really hard problems. Poverty, clean water, famine, climate change. Then again, maybe it’ll make things worse. I suppose in the end that’s up to us.

ai, work, future