Stanford researchers show that about 80% of US jobs will be impacted by ChatGPT and similar models. Should we be worried?
To answer that question, let’s look back at the historical impact of new technology on jobs (informational links at the end).
Fears of being replaced by machines date back to the 16th century. Knitting machines were the new killer tech, destroying those craft jobs. The industrial revolution brought in mass machinery, wiping out the rest of the craft jobs. But many new jobs were created, not only in factories, but in entirely new industries - like the automotive industry.
In modern times, offshoring jobs destroyed the factory jobs that the industrial revolution created. Furthermore, offshoring reduced job security and caused job losses, even in firms that didn’t offshore. But it also created many new jobs - many more than the ones that were destroyed.
Computers had a similar effect as far back as 1997, with workers both benefiting from increased jobs but also having their existing jobs disrupted. Computer technology added a further complication - job substitution, where entire categories of jobs are replaced. These changes caused massive disruptions to the lives of the impacted workers. On the other hand, computers led to the Internet Age. This combination created job opportunities in categories that simply didn’t exist before - from programmers to influencers.
With every disruption, many new jobs and even new industries were created, despite fears of “job killing tech”. On the other hand, every disruption reduced job security and required more advanced skills. So new technologies have always been a mixed bag in terms of their effects on employment.
Job change, rather than job loss, seems to be the real impact of technology. ChatGPT is likely to cause white collar job loss but it will also provide many new kinds of jobs for people who upskill to work with AI. ChatGPT may increase job substitution but could also lead to entirely new job categories.
AI could be a big help supporting overwhelmed workers. Due to the Great Resignation (which I covered previously), many companies are understaffed - leaving the remaining workers to pick up the burden. Overworking employees can lead to low morale and burnout. But AI tools like ChatGPT could pick up the slack, supporting employees while increasing productivity.
Within tech transfer, I see some specific use cases that should benefit tech transfer associates like you:
Researching new industries and companies to target for licensing deals. AI can make this research more efficient and also more accurate.
Writing marketing pitches for new invention disclosures. When reaching out to companies, it can be difficult to know which words to use or what to target. AI tools can help you focus on the main aspects of your innovation that will most interest companies in a particular industry.
Streamlining your own tech transfer work process. Quite a few new AI tools are focused on more efficient work processes. Plus combining the many types of AI tools that are available can help make your work more efficient.
What kinds of jobs will AI help - and which ones will it take over - in your area? Contact me and let me know!
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