Whether you’re looking for work now or at sometime in the future, you may have wondered how your role might be impacted by artificial intelligence. Is my job at risk or how will AI impact the entire industry? Do I need to upskill or retrain myself to be competitive in the job market and; how long will it take? In this article we give a little thought to how AI might affect some people.
Since going live on 30th November 2023 ChatGPT has become something of a juggernaut for all types of applications, from writing code to writing copy, from creating images to composing new songs by long dead artists it seems to be able to do almost anything, and many of these things it does darn well.
As of writing there would be over 15,000 AI tools that create text, images, videos and so much more. With almost the entirety of human knowledge accessible on the internet the bots have no shortage of material to work with. Amazingly, AI has recently translated previously unreadable, ancient Cuneiform and Akkadian into English. And, it seems we’re just scratching the surface.
There are a lot of unknowns around how far AI will go but one thing’s for certain. It isn’t going away anytime soon. So, how do jobseekers remain relevant in an AI world? We’ve already seen the decline of manufacturing jobs which hit a peak in the late 1970s, with many roles replaced by machines. As we reach come to an end of the first quarter of the twenty-first century (yes, that did go fast!) we find that computers and digital devices are more prevalent in the work force than ever before. According to a study by the National Skills Coalition an incredible 92% of all jobs require some kind digital skills. What, even a tradie like a carpenter or plumber? Yep. If you’re a sole trader you need to be able to at least email clients and companies working on larger projects utilise a range of different project management or quoting tools.
Obviously, a chippie or mechanic is not at risk of being replaced by machines anytime soon but some sectors are at much greater risk. Anyone who uses a computer for the majority of their work is at risk of being replaced. Accountants may find that accounting software is becoming more capable of performing more complex tax tasks. Legal professionals might find that researching and writing legal documents is faster and more easily performed by AI. Anyone who writes code or creates digital content from social media posts to editing feature films might be looking over their shoulder at what is to come.
As someone who creates and maintains websites I have been watching this space closely. Two posts that I read this morning are interesting reference points for this article. The first is that Blue Host have just unveiled WonderSuite which allows users to easily create content for their own WordPress websites. You can even build an ecommerce store with it without any knowledge of how to build a website. This seems to be quite a step up from drag and drop editors like Wix or Squarespace given you still have the ability to harness the power of WordPress.
The second article was one of a number reporting that numerous Woocommerce websites were being hacked by an exploit in their own payments system plugin. The issue was first reported back on 23rd March and it is incredibly easy for anyone to get full access to any unpatched site. Anyone with fairy basic coding skills could create a bot to crawl for unprotected sites – the payment gateway runs on 600,000 sites. For those not in the know Woocommerce has, according to Statista, a market share of a whopping 38%.
Let’s wander into realms of assumption and extrapolation for a moment as we round this article off. Firstly, Woocommerce and Blue Host and highly are respected players in their respective fields so we’re not suggesting that they are prone to exploits. The Woocommerce vulnerability was patched very soon after being known and the sites that are affected are ones left unmaintained. This is a critical part here, you have to stay ahead of the game! With Blue Host and others venturing into new territory with AI driven content generation it is almost inevitable that bad actors will be just as busy using AI to quickly find and exploit vulnerabilities in all variety of software. To rely solely on AI to keep your website safe would be risky to say the least. If security is left to AI is anyone held responsible when a website is hacked? Who is responsible for accounting errors that breach tax laws when accounts are managed by AI? Should AI be trusted with confidential information?
The main point of this article is that it would be foolish to rule out the role of humans in an AI world. How do businesses stay ahead of the game and where does innovation come from? If AI is drawing inspiration for graphic design from the sum total of all design work that can be found on the internet are we at risk of losing true innovation and exciting trends? If the number of graphic design jobs decline, reducing the number of people joining the industry, people bringing fresh ideas with them, we risk a world filled with simulacra, a new hyper-coloured but ultimately very beige landscape. Who will be the innovators?
For us mere humans trying to keep our jobs we would do well to keep abreast of the latest developments and how we can use AI to benefit us in the workplace. AI is still just a tool; a tool that copies rather than innovates; a tool that can make mistakes and some of those will definitely need skilled professionals to rectify them.
AI will not replace you but the person using AI probably will.Source unknown.
This article was written by our guest blogger Christopher Heneghan from Perth Web Designers Blue Kelpie.