On getting replaced by a robot
There’s lots to talk about in the world of AI nowadays now that ChatGPT’s entered the chat (sorry, couldn’t resist!), which has opened up a whole conversation about whether all our jobs are going to get taken, replaced, khallas’d, finished.
The research of Daron Acemoglu from MIT showcases that in the past (read: 1990 to 2007), each additional robot in the manufacturing industry replaced about 3.3 workers on average. Yes, this is a thing, but at the same time though, I abide by the maxim that past results are not an indicator of future returns; just because that was true in the past, it may not be true in the future; manufacturing as an industry has radically changed, but that doesn’t mean that the changes of the future will be the same as the ones of the past.
Also, what’s potentially at risk of being automated is certainly much more than just manufacturing as an industry so uh…
Well. I’ll write a bit more about jobs that I think can be automated in a later post, but for now…
I mean personally, I do think it would be funny if I got replaced by this kid…
…But I just don’t think that it’s going to happen any time soon, at least not in my line of work as a teacher and a writer.
I’d like to think that it’s not because I’m in denial (though I could be!) but rather it’s because I’ve actually used many different kinds of AI technologies pretty extensively and have a sense of what they can do.
In the former case, I’ve started to actually teach students about using AI to draft and structure their points, and in turn to make use of the little all-too-human cognitive connections in their head to see how they can improve from and learn with AI, and in the latter case, I’ve come to realize that there are many things that I realize that, as a creative person, I want to add a lot into the works that I create in order to make them beautiful and to level up.
It might seem odd for me to say this, especially since I’ve literally created an online course about ChatGPT, but I don’t think that AI is really here to replace us in most cases, but rather an incredibly powerful tool that’s here to help us level up as humans.
That said, I do believe that there is a chance that AI will level up from its current form and free itself from the limitations that characterize its performance; what I say now will probably come to bite me again when or if technology does catch up and outdoes me on every conceivable front, though I’ll probably want to write about that again on another day.
For now though, I broadly agree with Sam Altman that it would take an incredible feat of human arrogance to imagine that AI could not intellectually surpass us one day (See: 5:24), but also recognize the truth in what he’s said about how it will automate repetitive tasks and yield a reality where (and I’m going beyond what he’s said a little bit here) the most significant part of each job is our ability to maintain an emotional connection with another person.
It’s interesting to think about these things, and I look forward to writing more 🙂
P.S. I’ll be speaking as a panelist for the “How AI Technology Will Disrupt Business” session at “BIZ Gear UP! 2023”, organized by the FinLit Media Group, parent company of the YouTube channel Mr Money TV, in collaboration with NextUp Asia, the Malaysia’s largest Facebook group dedicated to entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs and Startups in Malaysia.
If you’re free on the 24th of February and you happen to be in KL, make sure to get a ticket and stop by!