- As artificial intelligence enters the workplace, many hope the technology will displace rather than replace human jobs.
- AI tools like speech-to-text engines could help scale the job of creators to do more, and more efficiently.
- By the same token, rather than replacing current creative jobs, AI could create just as many roles for “Super Organizers” able to moderate and manage AIs.
READ MORE: AI and the Age of the Individual (Dan Shipper)
As AI enters the workplace, including many creative processes, there are hopes that the technology will displace rather than replace jobs provided the overall work in question can scale.
If that sounds convoluted, well — it’s all just speculation for now. AI could just as easily wind up delivering mass unemployment as employers seek to automate efficiencies.
A more positive response to the same argument is that as AI breeds efficiencies it will help employers scale more quickly than they could before, in turn providing at least as much work for humans as before.
Except this time we will be managing the robots, as Dan Shipper writes in a blog post on behalf of time-management platform Akiflow.
“I think there’s a strong case to be made that rather than replacing individuals, recent advances in AI will empower them to make an impact on a scale matching some of the biggest businesses, research labs, and creative organizations of today,” he forecasts.
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Take creators. Text-based large language models might replace the research assistant or co-writer role. “They’re happy to help look up facts and quotes, or to create an outline based on a simple idea. Of course, they’re not as good as a human at these tasks yet — but their rate of improvement is high enough that in a year or two I think we’ll be shocked that we ever wrote without them,” Shipper says.
Other AI tools will speed a writers’ ability to produce content for different formats — podcasts or mini-blogs, for example. Text-to-speech models like Murf are already able to turn essays into human-like narration.
AI-generated video is coming. Shipper highlights Runway as advancing rapidly in this space. It won’t be long before anyone can create high-quality, format-driven YouTube videos from an essay.
What this all means is that solo content creators can suddenly do more for less. Some content creators currently employ several people in a team to pump out content under their name. AI would cut the cost of this. But Shipper’s argument is that doing so would enable creators to create even more content, requiring the need from more AI supervision from actual humans.
This train of thought could be applied to startups of any kind. What many startups lack, he comments, are the means to quickly scale. They can’t afford to high lots of people who are at the end of the day the source of intelligence in the company which enables it to grow.
But employing AI bypasses that. Suddenly a company doesn’t need to employ a customer service team working in a depot when a sophisticated chatbot will do.
That kind of future sounds terrible, but the point that Shipper is making remains sound. “In a few years this will mean founders [of startups] will be able to scale a product to millions of users without requiring a huge team.”
He admits much of this is guesswork, notably the point that AI in the workforce won’t actually mean less people at work. He thinks skills like vision (imagination, inspiration), taste, and the ability to prioritize are always going to be “quite important” and in the wheelhouse of a human.
“In other words, you’re still going to have to have some idea what you want the model to do and not do. You also need to have some idea whether it’s doing the job well or not. I think this is true even of models that are self-improving — at some point, someone’s got to look at it and decide whether or not to keep it plugged in.”
This kind of AI “super organizers” role sounds deeply unfulfilling, menial almost, and the kind of job that an AI is probably better doing. An AI to manage the AIs.
That doesn’t mean things are just going to work out automatically. “These kinds of technology shifts can cause significant harm to people whose jobs and skillsets need to change dramatically. It will require good policy and regulation to catch up with the shift, and significant conversations at the societal level about how humans should function and relate to each other in concert with these tools.”
Those who succeed in rising above an AI apocalypse in the job market may be individuals who are already adept at using IT and computer programming. “That opportunity is distributed to anyone with an internet connection, a laptop, and a desire to play around with these models.”
EXPLORING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:
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