back to article ChatGPT? Sure, I've heard it. But is AI coming for my job?

What a difference a year makes. Analysts at Jefferies have run a survey showing that nearly all US office workers have heard of ChatGPT - up from just over half a year ago - yet the flipside is that some now fear automation is coming for their jobs. According to the report, 89 percent of full-time office workers have heard of …

  1. andy 103
    Mushroom

    Resistance to adaptation

    "Nearly half (47 percent) of workers worried that AI could replace their role"

    Consider some other statements about things people might currently be worried about.

    - Dying in a corridor at an NHS hospital.

    - How their children will be able to find/buy/afford a house.

    - Electric cars

    - (endless other things)

    As usual the people who are most resistant to change are those who have a vested interest in it not changing. If you consider any of the points above they are really a sign that some things have moved on, whilst other related things have not. The most obvious thing being a big increase in population versus how older models for healthcare, housing and transport actually work in reality.

    For instance, those who have invested into property really don't want housing to become more affordable. You can apply similar logic to the other things. Consider who is resistant to those things changing. Often a relative minority at the detriment of the majority.

    That leads us to the point about jobs in this article. The people who are resistant to that changing are generally those with said jobs simply because they may otherwise be unemployed. Should they be excused from adapting simply because it affects them personally and bollocks to everyone else? We used to mine coal and some people weren't happy when that ended for them. Does that mean we should have carried on indefinitely so they personally were happy?

    The people who are blocking progress on the basis they'd personally be fucked otherwise ARE the problem.

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Stop

      "The people who are blocking progress ARE the problem."

      But ... where's the progression? ChatGPT is not true AI; it cannot infer from its data set or increase its body of knowledge by any means other than being provided with new raw data. When an employer declares that they are using AI to replace people, surely they are the ones blocking progress because they've replaced a thinking, evolving brain with a set of programmed responses?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The people who are blocking progress ARE the problem."

        Hey, we in IT have been threatening to replace annoying people with small shell scripts for decades now, knowing full well that the small shell script would do a better job than the annoying person does.

        The reality is that most employers don't want most of their employees to have thoughts. They want a specific thing done, and if an automation can do that thing they'd rather not have the person around to screw it up. That won't be a problem when the end of capitalism comes, but right now it's a major issue for actual human lives.

        Right now, the only thing keeping ChatGPT from replacing more people is that it's more likely to screw up than a person is. And until the end of capitalism, we'd all better hope it stays that way.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Resistance to adaptation

      "...those who have invested into property really don't want housing to become more affordable..."

      One of the big WTFs everywhere is that governments simultaneously want to introduce policies to help first-time buyers buy a house while simultaneously wanting to keep the value of existing homeowners' homes high. Obviously those policies are incompatible with one another.

      "The people who are resistant to that changing are generally those with said jobs simply because they may otherwise be unemployed"

      And this is not limited to anything AI-related either. Vast swathes of policy in most modern western democracies favour the old over the young, even though the old, generally speaking, are far richer.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Resistance to adaptation

        Any politician that says that they want to make it easier to buy a house but won't abolish the Town & Country Planning Act of 1947 and its successors, and reduce immigration substantially is lying.

        The last time more than 300k houses were built in a year was the 1930's because in 1947 we basically banned building.

        The population of the UK in 1997 was 58m. Last year it passed 67m.

        The average house price was 57k in 1997. As of 2016 ( latest data I can easily find ) it's £230k.

      2. Blank Reg

        Re: Resistance to adaptation

        The solutions to home affordability has too many with vested interests fighting against it. Step 1,ban corporations from buying single family homes. Step 2, change tax laws to make it non viable to invest or speculate in single family homes. Step 3, ban short term rentals, Step 4, NEVER REPEAT THE MISTAKE OF NEAR ZERO INTEREST RATES.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: Resistance to adaptation

          1 and 2 is completely irrelevant in the UK. We banned building houses in 1947. Don't do that. We've also spent the last 25 years importing as many people as we can in order to drive down living standards.

          ( 3 isn't relevant to the UK except places like Cornwall and 4: well duh )

          1. Blank Reg

            Re: Resistance to adaptation

            I was taking a more global view. in places like Paris or Prague as much as 20-30% of apartments are short term rentals. In the USA you have corporations buying up 10s of thousands of homes. Where I live , during the peak of the market, we had about 1/3 of home sales going to people that already owned multiple homes in the city. If 20 or 30 percent of homes came back on the market then prices would go back to normal levels

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Resistance to adaptation

          Unfortunately there is one other thing you don't take into account - there are *always* going to be people who need to rent because they don't have enough startup capital, because they don't want to tie down their capital, because they want location flexibility etc etc. So there will always be a need for landlords (ie your point 2 would destroy the rental market, and this market is an important market for the renters as well as for the landlords). Your point 3 would be equally damaging to tourism, especially outside of big cities and towns, where hotels are not always economically viable. The problem with short-term lets competing with longer-term tenants is basically a problem of not enough housing stock. Finally, low interest rates can help people buy their own property just as much as it can help speculators, so the interest rates themselves aren't the problem.

          What needs to be done to improve home affordability is a massive increase of new housing stock plus re-zoning and permitting to allow older buildings to be redeveloped and reused.

      3. Lyndication

        Re: Resistance to adaptation

        >Obviously those policies are incompatible with one another.

        Honestly, no. Government subsidies to help first time buyers keep house prices high, by redirecting tax money into offsetting the utter unaffordability of modern housing.

  2. Azamino

    My shop is pushing the line that AI will not take your job, it’s your colleagues using AI who will takeaway your job!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really? I tend to find sitting back for a couple of years and then charging an exorbitant consultant fee to spray the blood off the walls from the last hype bubble is a job that isn't going away anytime soon.

  3. Binraider Silver badge

    It's not there - yet - but it is certainly possible. I'd quite like the tech to get good enough in about 10 years time please, which would be ideal timing for a fat redundancy payoff.

    One of the most intriguing possibilities for me is in writing technical standards. At the moment there are lots of variations within national borders and across different institutions on such things; however, if you were to feed an AI bot the fundamental physical properties and otherwise "same" criteria for requirements; by rights it should converge on a common solution regardless of political and commercial interests.

    Feed it those as well and you're back to square one, the standards will still be produced with those interests in mind over y'know, actual standardisation.

    Of course, there is also the well known origins of the word Sabotage; derived from the name of a type of shoe being thrown into the machines taking workers jobs. Sabotage of prospective AIs stealing jobs IS a thing on various trade unions radar, and rightly so.

  4. katrinab Silver badge
    Alert

    I'm not worried about AI taking my job. I am however worried about bosses who think AI can take over my job.

    A previous employer thought that "the cloud" could take over my job. That company is no longer in business.

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