We asked ChatGPT for advice on how to stop AI from taking your job

It seemed like a cute gimmick: As part of our major article on surviving the AI job apocalypse, we’d ask ChatGPT for career advice. Clever, right?

So I fired up ChatGPT, set it to GPT-4, the most advanced model, and started typing.

As soon as ChatGPT started talking, I was disappointed. I asked, “Is artificial intelligence a threat to people’s jobs?” ChatGPT’s answer began: “The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment is a topic of significant debate. On one hand…. “

A wise editor once advised me, “Take a position! Even if the readers disagree with you, you serve them if you take a position. Don’t do ‘on the one hand, on the other hand.’ Take a position!” An article that starts “on the one hand … but on the other hand” is boring. It disrespects the reader’s time and attention.

And that’s what I saw as my interview with ChatGPT spooled out. The answers ChatGPT gave me agree with popular wisdom. They’re safe. Uncontroversial. And boring. They read as if a committee of marketing managers decided to write an article, prioritizing staying out of trouble by generating content that would offend no one and that no one could complain about. And no one would care about it either.

So I had to write my article the old-fashioned way: By talking with experts and working people and researching prior thinking about AI and careers. Read it here:

Surviving the AI job apocalypse: AI won’t kill the human race or take everybody’s job. But the workplace will be transformed, and some jobs are at risk. Workers are already starting to adapt.

My long-ago editor would have liked the article. It takes a position.

And here’s my conversation with ChatGPT, in its entirety:

Q: Is artificial intelligence a threat to people’s jobs?

ChatGPT: The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment is a topic of significant debate. On one hand, there is concern that AI and automation could lead to job displacement. This concern is particularly relevant for roles involving repetitive tasks or tasks that can be easily automated, such as in manufacturing, data entry, and some customer service roles.

On the other hand, AI could also lead to job creation. New industries and opportunities could emerge as a result of advancements in AI technology. For instance, jobs related to the development, maintenance, and ethical oversight of AI systems could increase. AI can also augment existing jobs by handling routine tasks, allowing employees to focus on more complex and creative aspects of their work.

In addition, AI could change the nature of work. Many believe that in the future, a large portion of jobs will involve working with AI in some capacity. This doesn’t necessarily mean the AI is a threat to these jobs, but rather that job roles may shift or evolve.

While AI has the potential to disrupt many jobs, it’s important to note that job displacement due to technological advancement is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, many jobs have been made obsolete due to technological advancements, but new ones have also been created. The key is to ensure that there are adequate support systems in place for retraining and education to help workers adapt to these changes.

In summary, while AI can pose a threat to some jobs, especially those involving routine or easily automatable tasks, it can also lead to the creation of new jobs and change the nature of existing ones. How this balance will play out in the long term is uncertain and largely depends on how technology continues to develop, how society adapts, and the policies we put in place to support those affected.

Q: As artificial intelligence becomes more common, how can people maximize success in their careers?

Chat GPT: As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more prevalent in various sectors, it’s important for individuals to consider how they can leverage this technology and prepare for the evolving job market. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Embrace Lifelong Learning: Jobs are changing rapidly, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest advancements. This means continually educating yourself, not only about AI and related technologies but also about the wider trends in your industry.

  2. Develop Technical Skills: For those interested in working directly with AI, skills in areas like data science, machine learning, and programming (in languages like Python) are often required. Understanding the basics of AI and how it can be applied in your field can be a significant advantage.

  3. Strengthen Soft Skills: While AI excels at automating routine tasks and analyzing large amounts of data, there are many areas where humans still have an advantage. Skills like creativity, critical thinking, leadership, emotional intelligence, and complex problem-solving are harder to automate and are likely to be in high demand.

  4. Adaptability and Flexibility: With the rate at which technology is changing, being adaptable is key. This means being open to new ways of working, whether that means using new technologies or adjusting to shifts in your role within an organization.

  5. Ethics and Responsible AI Use: As AI becomes more integrated into our lives, there’s a growing need for professionals who understand the ethical implications of using AI, including issues like bias, privacy, and accountability.

  6. Network and Collaborate: Networking is always a good strategy for career success. As AI becomes more prevalent, collaboration between humans and machines will become more common. Therefore, it’s beneficial to be comfortable working in teams and in environments where AI is used.

  7. Understand and Leverage AI: Even if you’re not a tech specialist, understanding how AI can impact your field and how it can be leveraged to improve efficiency or outcomes can make you a more valuable employee.

In summary, success in an AI-driven world is likely to be defined by a combination of technical skills, soft skills, an understanding of ethical considerations, adaptability, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Q: As AI becomes more prevalent, what job skills will be in greatest demand?

ChatGPT: As AI becomes more prevalent, both technical and non-technical skills will be in high demand. Below are some of the specific skills that are likely to be highly sought after:

  1. AI and Machine Learning Skills: These skills include understanding AI concepts, programming languages (such as Python, Java, or R), statistics, data analysis, and the ability to develop and maintain AI systems.

  2. Data Analysis and Data Science Skills: As AI and machine learning often depend on large datasets, people with skills in data analysis, data visualization, and interpreting complex datasets will be needed.

  3. Cybersecurity Skills: As more data gets digitized and more processes are controlled by AI, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will increase to ensure data integrity and system security.

  4. Cloud and Distributed Computing: Cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure are often used for developing and deploying AI systems, so skills in these areas are beneficial.

  5. Ethical and Legal Compliance: There will be a demand for professionals who can navigate the ethical, legal, and social implications of AI, ensuring responsible and fair use of these technologies.

  6. Soft Skills: While not specific to AI, skills like critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and complex problem-solving will continue to be valuable as they are harder to automate and are crucial for most roles.

  7. Digital Literacy and Digital Transformation: Understanding how to navigate the digital landscape and how to leverage technology to transform business processes will be important in an AI-driven world.

  8. Project Management: Implementing AI solutions requires strong project management skills to oversee projects from conception to completion, manage teams, and ensure effective communication among stakeholders.

  9. Robotics: As AI finds its way into physical systems, skills in robotics including design, maintenance, and programming will be needed.

  10. Sales and Marketing Skills: As AI creates new products and services, there will be a demand for professionals who can sell these services and understand how to market them effectively.

These skills highlight that while AI may automate certain tasks, it also creates a wide range of opportunities for those who are able to leverage its capabilities. The key will be to continually learn and adapt to changes in the technology landscape.

Q: What skills and jobs will be least affected by artificial intelligence?

ChatGPT: While it’s difficult to predict with certainty, jobs and skills that involve a high degree of human interaction, creativity, strategic decision-making, and complex problem-solving are generally considered less susceptible to automation. Here are some examples:

  1. Healthcare Practitioners: While AI can assist in diagnosing diseases or managing patient data, healthcare jobs such as doctors, nurses, and therapists require a high degree of human interaction, empathy, and decision-making skills that are currently difficult to automate.

  2. Education Professionals: Teachers, tutors, and other education professionals use their knowledge, creativity, and emotional intelligence to engage with students in ways that are challenging for AI to replicate.

  3. Creative Professionals: Jobs in arts, music, writing, and design are considered safe from automation because they involve a high degree of creativity, original thought, and personal expression that AI cannot easily mimic.

  4. Senior Business Leaders and Managers: These roles often involve strategic decision-making, complex problem-solving, negotiation, and leadership skills, all of which are difficult to automate.

  5. Social Workers and Psychologists: These professions involve deep understanding of human emotions, empathy, and the ability to help people navigate complex personal issues - skills that are far from being automated.

  6. Research Scientists: While AI can aid in data analysis, the formulation of hypotheses, experimentation, and interpretation of results still heavily rely on human intuition and expertise.

  7. Skilled Tradespeople: Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and other skilled tradespeople perform tasks that require complex physical dexterity and problem-solving in diverse, real-world environments, which are challenging to automate.

  8. Legal Professionals: While AI can help automate some tasks like legal document review, other aspects like courtroom argument, negotiation, or legal counselling require human skills.

The key to these roles is the combination of complex decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, and specialized knowledge or physical skills. While AI will certainly change aspects of these jobs, the core of what makes them valuable is unlikely to be automated in the near future. However, as AI advances, these roles may continue to evolve and potentially incorporate more AI tools. Thus, even in these professions, a basic understanding of AI and its capabilities could be beneficial.

Q: As artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent, what skills and jobs are most threatened? In other words: What human skills will be replaced by machines? What jobs will cease to exist?

ChatGPT: AI and automation most threaten jobs that involve routine, repetitive tasks or tasks that can be codified into a set of rules or instructions. These tasks can often be more efficiently performed by machines, which can operate continuously without fatigue and with consistent quality. Here are some examples:

  1. Manufacturing and Warehouse Jobs: Many jobs in assembly lines or warehouses, particularly those that involve repetitive physical tasks, are already being automated with robots and AI.

  2. Transportation and Delivery Services: With advancements in autonomous vehicles and drones, jobs in trucking, taxi services, and delivery services could be threatened.

  3. Data Entry Clerks: Jobs involving routine data input are highly susceptible to automation as AI and machine learning algorithms become more efficient at data processing and recognition tasks.

  4. Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks: Many routine tasks in these jobs, such as basic calculations and report generation, can be automated. However, high-level financial advising and decision-making are less likely to be automated.

  5. Retail Cashiers and Salespeople: With the advent of self-checkout systems and online shopping, retail jobs are at risk.

  6. Customer Service: Automated systems and chatbots are increasingly used to handle routine customer inquiries, putting jobs in customer service centers at risk.

  7. Telemarketing: AI can handle scripted phone calls, making telemarketing jobs vulnerable.

  8. Basic Cooking and Serving Jobs: Fast food and other forms of quick-service dining may see increased automation in food preparation and even delivery to tables.

  9. Cleaning and Maintenance Jobs: Automated cleaning equipment and robots are being developed to handle a variety of cleaning and maintenance tasks.

It’s important to note, however, that the replacement of jobs by AI and automation doesn’t necessarily mean those jobs will disappear entirely. It may mean that the nature of these jobs will change. For instance, a truck driver’s role may evolve into a logistics manager who oversees a fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Also, new jobs may be created as a result of the technology, and some existing jobs may see increased demand. For example, there may be an increased need for AI specialists who can develop and maintain AI systems, or for ethics professionals who can navigate the complex moral and societal issues that these technologies raise.

Finally, while AI and automation can replace certain tasks, there are many tasks they cannot perform, particularly those involving complex decision making, creative thinking, and understanding or navigating human emotions and social contexts. Jobs that heavily involve these kinds of tasks are less likely to be fully replaced by machines.

Q: Does automation create more demand for some kind of work? For example, is it true that there is more demand for accountants today than there was 50 years ago, before the development of spreadsheet software? And that there are more human bank tellers today than 50 years ago, before widespread use of the automated teller machine (ATM)? If that’s the case, what kinds of jobs can we expect to see in greater demand as AI becomes more prevalent?

ChatGPT: Yes, it is indeed true that the advent of new technologies, while automating some tasks, can sometimes lead to an increased demand for certain types of jobs. This can occur for several reasons.

Firstly, automating certain tasks can increase productivity and lower costs, leading to increased demand for the service and thus an increased demand for workers, even if each individual worker is doing less of the now-automated task. This seems to be what occurred with bank tellers and ATMs: ATMs automated the task of dispensing cash, but this led banks to open more branches, each of which still needed human tellers for more complex tasks.

Secondly, new technologies create new tasks that need to be done. Spreadsheet software automated many routine calculations for accountants, but it also made many new calculations possible, creating new work for accountants. Furthermore, as the business environment becomes more complex, the need for accounting expertise to navigate this complexity increases.

With these principles in mind, we can speculate on jobs that might see increased demand due to AI:

  1. Data Scientists and AI Specialists: As AI becomes more prevalent, there will be an increased demand for professionals who can build, maintain, and improve these systems.

  2. Cybersecurity Professionals: As more processes are automated and digitized, the potential damage from data breaches or other cyber attacks increases, leading to an increased demand for cybersecurity professionals.

  3. Ethics Professionals: As AI systems make more decisions that affect people’s lives, there will be an increased need for professionals who can ensure these systems are used ethically and fairly.

  4. Teachers and Trainers: As AI changes the job landscape, there will be an increased need for education and training to help people adjust to these changes.

  5. Mental Health Professionals: Rapid technological change can be stressful and anxiety-provoking, potentially leading to an increased demand for mental health services.

  6. Human Resources Professionals: As AI changes the nature of work, there will be new challenges in terms of managing personnel and ensuring a healthy work environment.

Remember, however, that these are just speculations. The actual impact of AI on job demand will depend on many factors, including how the technology develops, how businesses and individuals adapt to it, and what policies governments put in place to manage these changes.