Briefing

6 jobs AI could replace

The recent rise of generative artificial intelligence has sparked debates — and fears — in many industries about the future of the human workforce

Automation is by no means a new phenomenon, but the recent rise of generative artificial intelligence has spurred debates in many industries about whether or not they pose a threat. Will programs like OpenAI's text and image generators render human employees obsolete? Here are a few jobs that some fear are threatened by AI-based automation. 

1

Lawyers

AI tech has already made its way into the legal profession, but recent advancements in the field have people wondering if it will eventually render lawyers obsolete. Reuters recently reported that a law school dean used OpenAI's ChatGTP chatbot to draft a legal brief and found that the program could "mimic the work of lawyers, with varying degrees of success." 

Consumer advocacy tech company DoNotPay recently caused a splash after announcing that its AI-enhanced "robot lawyer" would soon assist with a real-life traffic court case. The device, which runs on a smartphone, would listen to arguments in court and formulate a response that will be fed to the defendant via wireless headphones. While the company's CEO, Joshua Browder, admits that the commercialization of his creation is far off, he's already set his sights on testing his legal algorithm in more serious cases. He recently offered $1 million to any lawyer with an upcoming case in the U.S. Supreme Court who would agree to "wear AirPods and let our robot lawyer argue the case by repeating exactly what it says."

2

Interns

Unpaid internships might eventually be a thing of the past, but not for the reasons they should be. Tech marketing agency Codeword recently decided to use AI "interns" to assist its editorial and design teams by completing "menial yet necessary tasks." The interns in question are digital software models that created their own images and names — Aiko and Aiden. They will be responsible for working on graphic designs, researching, and generating editorial content. The pair will share their internship experiences on the company's blog and social media. 

"It's an opportunity to streamline internal processes by eliminating necessary but mind-numbing and time-consuming tasks — or at least to pass them off onto emotionless interns who can't get bored," says Codeword senior editor Terrence Doyle, per Axios.

3

Visual artists

The visual art community is at the forefront of the debate about the ethics of generative AI. Innovative tech like Open AI's DALL-E 2 text-to-image generator has become increasingly controversial. The program looks at hundreds of images to help it create an image based on the text prompt provided by the user. The images created by DALL-E 2 vary from bizarre to stunningly beautiful, making digital art accessible to anyone. Mark Chen, the lead researcher on DALL-E 2, said OpenAI built the tool to "democratize image generation for a bunch of people who wouldn't necessarily classify themselves as artists." With such advanced images created easily, many wonder if creative professionals should be worried about keeping their jobs. 

Another image creator app, Lensa AI, went viral last year after people started using it to create artistic portraits based on their own photos. The app's popularity reignited concerns about the ethics of generative AI, especially considering it uses art from human artists to improve its technology. Several artists have called the company out for using their art without their permission.

4

Customer service agents

Many websites already have chatbots to answer questions, but they are often run by human operators, especially with more complex inquiries. However, recent advancements in the capabilities of generative AI have some convinced that we are getting closer to a future without human customer service agents. As companies look to incorporate generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT, some people wonder whether human operators will be phased out. While some predict mass automation is in the near future for the customer service industry, other experts warn that companies should be wary of the unpredictable nature of AI text generators.

5

Writers

Alongside visual artists, the community of creative writing professionals has felt the pressure of advanced generative AI. Automated written content generators have already begun to pop up. Companies like Jounce AI and Jasper offer businesses the opportunity to create blog posts and short-form advertising copy at a fraction of the cost and time of real-life copywriters. With more powerful text generator algorithms like ChatGPT pushing the boundaries of AI writing, some predict that the copywriting industry will eventually be largely automated.

ChatGPT's aptitude for creating convincing fiction has also caused a stir among writers about the ethics of using AI to write books. A man recently went viral after posting a Twitter thread about how he used AI tools to write and self-publish a children's book in one weekend. Some authors found his experiment unsettling. "As somebody who makes my money and finds my joy in writing, it's deeply troubling to see people seeking cheap alternatives to actual human writing, which is already one of the most deliriously underpaid professions," says author Abraham Josephine Riesman, per Time magazine.

6

Influencers and fashion models

AI technology has also infiltrated the fashion world. Some brands are using text-to-image generators like DALL-E 2 to create digital fashion shows. Others are experimenting with 3D renderings of fashion models based on images of known celebrities and models. These computer-generated images of realistic-looking humans have made it possible for a new class of AI influencers and fashion models to emerge. Digital influencer Miquela Sousa has amassed 2.9 million followers on her Instagram account. Digital model Shudu Gram, who has modeled for brands like Louis Vuitton, ignited debates over ethical concerns about race. Some critics denounce the AI model as a form of "digital blackface."

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