Be honest, how many times these past few months have you asked yourself that very question? Ever since ChatGPT’s public release in late November of 2022, there has been a lot of doom and gloom in the media and public discourse alike.
Employment anxiety is at an all-time high, and perhaps for good reason. In the past year, we’ve seen ChatGPT place in the 10% of the bar (the US legal examination), write functional code, and generate full-fledged articles and essays – and those are just the examples that come to mind first.
Today, we seek to explore the reality of the situation, assess which jobs are at the most risk of being replaced by ChatGPT, and ultimately, either vindicate or alleviate your worries.
What is ChatGPT?
First, let’s define what we’re talking about. ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool and generative AI solution developed by OpenAI of DALL-E fame. The public version of ChatGPT is currently (August 2023), running on the GPT-3.
GPT-3, or Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3 is a language model, which allows it to hold conversations, answer questions, and generate copywriting and coding outputs.
GPT-4, an even larger and more sophisticated language model was released in March 2023 for premium ChatGPT subscribers. It promises to deliver even higher-quality results in terms of creative writing, however, its impacts are yet to be seen.
How is ChatGPT affecting the job market?
As mentioned, since ChatGPT’s release, the technology has sent ripples throughout job markets worldwide. While companies reacted to the prospect of faster content creation, higher efficiency, and essentially free labor with excitement, their employees didn’t share the same sentiment.
Concerns over being replaced became omnipresent in the workforce, but despite that, most companies pushed on to explore what generative AI (GAI) could do for them. Some of the most note-worthy headlines to come from this include:
- Google would potentially hire ChatGPT as an entry-level coder1
- ChatGPT could upend jobs on Wall Street2
- OpenAI consider replacing software engineers with ChatGPT3
- Lawyer used ChatGPT in court – and cited fake cases4
But what is ChatGPT actually doing? A recent Goldman Sachs report suggested that AI could affect 300 million full-time jobs worldwide, mainly by automating mid-career, mid-ability white-collar occupations.
However, as we’ll soon discuss, ChatGPT and similar AI tools primarily impact repetitive, simple, and lower-priority tasks. Consequently, they threaten entry-level employees the most – at least for now.
At the same time, these solutions present some exciting opportunities for experts in their fields. The automation they provide lends itself well to time-saving and efficiency increases for both the company and the individual, meaning employees and freelancers alike can focus on high-value activities that require human touch.
Furthermore, AI is also opening up new employment opportunities. With the hype train going strong, the demand for experts in the field is high and will likely only increase in the long term –which is a fact even universities are picking up on.
Assuming the trend continues, we can foresee prompt engineers becoming highly sought-after, along with AI developers, analysts, and consultants. Or, at the very least, prompt engineering as a skill will become a big benefit for any potential job seeker.
Writer’s Note: “I’d like to suggest anyone interested in the AI space (and their place in the job market of the future) check out LearnPrompting’s courses. They’re free and have helped me significantly in getting acquainted with the technology.”
Which fields are most likely to be impacted by AI?
First, let us be the first to admit that predicting the long-term implications of AI are near-impossible to predict. On the one hand, AI over the years has gone through several cycles of so-called booms and winters – eras during which hype runs high and development runs at a break-neck pace, and ones where it all but stops.
This means our current situation may be nothing more than a fad in a timeline where this is the norm. On the other hand, some experts have posited that Moore’s Law (which originally referred to the doubling of transistors on microchips roughly every two years) could also apply to the potential rapid sophistication of AI due to the quickly growing number of “neurons”.
This, in turn, could mean that we’re much closer to AI solutions that could replace even high-level professionals in their fields than we think. Experts have identified 6 fields that are most likely to be impacted by ChatGPT’s current versions. So, let’s have a look at those, shall we?
1. Software development
“Will AI replace programmers?” is a headline that’s been making rounds for a while now – and not without reason. Software development has long been considered one of the most stable, profitable, and desirable jobs out there, so when a tool appears that can automate certain aspects of coding, it’s sure to cause an uproar.
But the word “certain” is key. ChatGPT can indeed generate code and complete specific tasks, like handling repetitive tasks and generating basic code snippets, but it’s still far from being a replacement for seasoned software engineers.
The issue is that ChatGPT lacks the creativity, problem-solving abilities, and deep understanding of systems that only humans can bring to the table. However, professional programmers seem to be more than open to letting AI fill in the gaps, while they focus on more complex tasks.
As Abhishek Gupta, the founder and principal researcher at the Montreal AI Ethics Institute, said in his TechTarget interview: Developers will no longer have to write boilerplate code, Gupta said. Instead, they can focus on areas such as complex application architecture or cybersecurity.
Verdict: ChatGPT isn’t replacing software developers anytime soon. Rather, it’ll become a great coding buddy for all those who allow it.
2. Analytics (data, market research)
Like in software development, ChatGPT raised eyebrows (and blood pressures) in the analytics communities as well. After all, what does AI do better than crunch numbers? Streamlining data processing, generating basic insights, and transforming them into reports is the tool’s forté.
But as will soon become a trend across these sections, there’s a catch. Data-driven insights and decisions are two very different things, and while AI can help a lot with the first, it can’t do much when it comes to the second.
Making data-driven decisions requires a complex understanding of not only the current market at large, but also your company’s position within it, along with all the goals, needs, desires, and use cases that go with it.
ChatGPT can help streamline data processing and generate basic insights, but it cannot replace the human intuition required to identify trends, anomalies, and actionable recommendations in complex datasets.
Verdict: Analysts shouldn’t view ChatGPT as direct competition, but rather as a tool to expedite routine tasks.
The finance industry is one, where ChatGPT could have a substantial impact. Following up from the previous entry, the first jobs on the potential cutting block are financial analysts and personal financial advisors. These will likely experience the same, or very similar effects as we described above.
However, some surprising roles that might be affected significantly are those of traders and investment bankers – as we mentioned in our AI headline highlights. AI can automate routine financial tasks, including data entry, transaction monitoring, and basic financial analysis.
Incidentally, that is the exact type of task university graduates are hired to do for the first 2-3 years of their professional careers, according to Pengcheng Shi of the Rochester University of Technology.
However, as reported by SCMP, ChatGPT might not be coming for Wall Street yet. Due to the tool’s frequent mistakes in basic mathematics, banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup have limited its use for the foreseeable future.
Verdict: ChatGPT might cause a significant upset in the finance industry, especially in its entry-level jobs. To maximize their chances of a long and (relatively) worry-free career, professionals should focus on developing their analytical and strategic skills that complement AI tools, rather than compete with them.
When it comes to marketing and AI, all everyone seems to talk about is content creation. Which we’ll do too, but we’d be remiss not to mention the impact the technology has on SEO and link-building experts.
As previously discussed in the section dedicated to analysts, artificial intelligence is excellent at working with large datasets. Tools targeting SEO research and link-building prospecting might take over a fair share of the experts’ workload.
AI might be able to analyze competitors’ sites, evaluate your company’s SEO, and even find publications that cover similar topics to you. However, as has been the case so far, it still won’t be able to make decisions by itself.
Verdict: Although smart solutions are likely to streamline a lot of the research marketing requires, they’re unlikely to replace marketers and their decision-making anytime soon.
5. Content creation
Whenever someone brings up GPTs replacing humans, copywriters tend to be the first in line, along with graphic designers and other creatives close behind. And not without reason – tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E can deliver impressive content in a very short amount of time.
Writer’s Warning: Personal opinions incoming.
As a consequence, many (primarily freelance) copywriters and designers have found themselves out of a job. But the thing is… I don’t think creative professionals should worry about being replaced despite that fact.
Generative AI has primarily impacted high-volume, low-quality “creatives”, whose content should have never seen the light of day. However, it cannot replace the unique voices, visions, and personal touches that experts bring to the table.
Content creation is about storytelling, connection, and conveying emotions – areas where both automation and many of the content creators replaced fell short. So, even if ChatGPT takes over coming up with initial ideas and drafting, the final crafting and editing will lie firmly in human hands.
Verdict: Seasoned content creators should welcome AI tools as a means to streamline their creative process. Meanwhile, those who struggle to compete should focus their efforts on honing their craft and finding ways to deliver content only a human could.
Cheating in schools is nothing new, but ever since students started using ChatGPT to write their papers for them, academics can’t help but wonder – will AI replace teachers?
Well, no, it won’t. Teachers bring empathy, mentorship, and the ability to tailor education to individual student needs. They foster critical thinking, creativity, and social development, aspects beyond the capabilities of AI.
However, automation will, without a doubt, change education as we know it. Right now, it’s assisting with creating educational materials and automating grading. However, as the technology advances, it might make written homework completely obsolete (as long as people remember to delete unwanted responses).
Verdict: Teachers and educators shouldn’t worry about being replaced and rather use AI as a tool to support and enhance their teaching methods. However, what long-term impact the technology will have on the entire schooling system is hard to say.
In conclusion, while ChatGPT and AI technologies like it are making waves across various industries, professionals should not fear outright replacement. These tools are best viewed as powerful assistants, capable of automating repetitive tasks and enhancing productivity.
Those who adapt, embrace AI as a tool, and focus on developing uniquely human skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, are likely to thrive alongside these technological advances.
The future of work is likely to be a collaborative one, where humans and AI work hand-in-hand to achieve greater efficiency and innovation.