Connect with us


Sorry Mira, but no jobs should go away due to AI



Sorry Mira, but no jobs should go away due to AI

The human mind is infinite-it has made inventions and innovations, built empires and civilizations, strategized wars and coups and ushered in an era of information technology that has completely revolutionized our lives.

The human mind is also not without its frailty; it senses fear, whether rational or irrational, and in some cases, fear can paralyze the abilities of the mind. The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) over the years, has stoked fears in industries across the spectrum, where many speculate that the emerging technology will replace their existing jobs.

Recently, Mira Murati, the chief technical officer of OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, made a statement in a talk show, claiming that advanced AI tools “may take away some creative jobs but maybe those jobs shouldn’t exist in the first place (sic).” Mira was speaking at a talk show organized at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, her alma mater, where she made the comment

Her statement has resulted in a backlash as several people accused Mira’s company of profiteering from the original work of artists to feed information in their ‘models’. The artists’ community, particularly, came down heavily on Mira as they believe her words reflected the change in stance of OpenAI which was initially founded as a non-profit in 2015 to develop “safe and beneficial” AI. 

In a post covid world, when investments in venture capital (VC) are down, countries like the UK and Japan are on the threshold of recession and several European and South Asian countries are facing unemployment and inflation, this statement from Mira has added fuel to fear psychosis. 

Fear Psychosis : Will AI take away my job ?

Since the advent of AI, people have been debating the risk of loss of employment opportunities even as companies seem to be adapting AI driven technology at great speed. 

As per a latest forecast report by Gartner, the global IT spending in 2024 is expected to hit $5 trillion, which will be an 8% rise in spending compared to last year. This surge in IT spending, despite a downer in venture capital investments, is largely due to an increase in AI related investments in 2023-24. 

With such high stakes riding on AI, there is a major concern among workers of white collar jobs that their jobs will eventually become obsolete and replaced by AI tools. 

A website will robots take my job. com gives a fascinating insight into what kind of jobs are at maximum risk due to the advent of AI. A majority of high risk jobs included that of logistics, office and administrative support, media jobs, financial clerks, information and record clerks among others.

However, there is a flipside to this debate as a recent report has shown that more than 60% of the jobs in the U.S. in 2018 were not even invented in 1940. The report prepared by David Autor of the Department of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that there was a direct correlation between higher studies and higher wages in U.S. workers. The report also noticed that after computers were introduced in the U.S, better educated workers whose work relied on information, calculation, communication and problem solving, found their productivity increased manifolds but computerization also ended up replacing middle skill workers whose job included gathering information and doing calculations for the better educated workers. 

Similarly, in the late 1980’s, when the Indian government was trying to introduce computerization in its governance, it had met a lot of resistance from the opposition parties who claimed computers would end up taking people’s jobs. This article dated December 31, 1987 by India Today magazine gives a fascinating account of changes observed in Indian bureaucracy with the import of over 100,000 computers in India. 

While introduction of computers in offices of India did end up replacing workers assigned with clerical and administrative duties, it also ushered in an era of IT revolution in India. Two major IT hubs Bengaluru and Hyderabad cities were set up gradually, creating millions of jobs for educated Indians. 

Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning are emerging concepts and much lies unexplored in these domains. A clearer picture of the impact of AI in different industries will emerge in the next decade or so. The assumption that a lot of middle level jobs will be replaced by AI is not completely unfounded but it doesn’t mean that new jobs won’t be created with time.

The possibilities of AI and ML in fields of advanced medical research, biotechnology, finance and logistics are immense and every possible indication suggests that the emerging technology could completely change human lives for good. 

Therefore, to hear a comment from the chief technical officer of OpenAI, claiming that several of high risk jobs shouldn’t have been there in the first place, actually makes people apprehensive of emerging technologies. The statement by Mira is not just downright condescending, it’s also short-sighted and belittles the vision of her own organization.  

AI in creative spaces- Lower the barrier or lower the bar ?

During the talk show, Mira also made an observation regarding the role of AI in creative spaces and how it can make just about anyone “creative” with a prompt. 

And if you think about how humans consider creativity, we think about it as a very special thing that’s accessible to very few talented people out there. And these AI tools actually lower the barrier for anyone to think of themselves as creative and expand their creativity (sic),” said Mira.

This statement made by Mira was a precursor to the point when she claimed that some of these “creative jobs shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

The idea that AI lowers the barrier for anyone to turn creative is problematic because it belittles the efforts of the very artists whose works have inspired AI tools to develop their own cognizance and abilities.

May we remind Mira that artists or creative people are not “elite” or “special” but they are the representatives of the history, culture, politics and social churnings of their societies. Famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once said, “I have often maintained that the best poet is he who prepares our daily bread: the nearest baker who doesn’t imagine himself to be a God. He does his majestic and unpretentious work of kneading the dough, consigning it to the oven, baking it in golden colors and handing us our daily bread as a duty of fellowship.

Artists are sentinels and book keepers of our time; they document history, narrate epic tales and bring out the essence of life through their paintbrush. They are not “use cases” whose work can be ingrained in programs and eventually replaced by machines. 

Therefore, the statement by OpenAI CTO Mira Murati is nothing but a smokescreen meant to infuse fear psychosis among the people and develop aversion to an emerging technology that has limitless potential to help humanity. As a social media user has rightly said, “I want AI to do my dishes and laundry and not my art and writing.

Also Read: Attempts to influence Indian elections using ChatGPT thwarted

Continue Reading