How ChatGPT could lead to 'mass unemployment' – The Crypto Mile

Watch: How ChatGPT could lead to 'mass unemployment' – The Crypto Mile

ChatGPT could push society towards "mass unemployment", an AI expert has claimed. With artificially intelligent applications poised to become imbedded in every area of life, will they lead to mass social unrest or a bountiful future free from want? Yahoo Finance investigates.

San Francisco based tech firm OpenAI has been headline news since the launch of its 'artificially intelligent' content generator app in November 2022, called ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence application that can churn out emails, business plans, company logos, computer codes, newspaper articles, academic essays, and even pieces of fiction in the style of a writers such as Joyce or Dostoyevsky, in a matter of seconds.

Read more: ChatGPT: What you need to know about the most talked about AI tool

But is this output truly original? Or just a mash-up of human created content that already exists online?

If the use of this AI aid becomes ubiquitous, what are the consequences for wider society? Will human creativity and agency lapse into redundancy and become indistinguishable from the mindless machines whose sole purpose will be to fulfil our ever task?

On this week's episode of The Crypto Mile, Yahoo Finance speaks to chief artificial intelligence officer at WPP, Daniel Hulme.

When asked if ChatGPT would be as disruptive as the hype suggests, or just this year's tech buzzword, he was adamant that it will push society to the precipice of sudden, revolutionary change.

He said: "ChatGPT is a huge deal. It is a so-called large language model, and such models are going to be revolutionary.

"They essentially move us one more step towards what is called artificial general intelligence (AGI), where we have machines behaving like real human beings.

"We can see lots of interesting examples, but it will take several years for businesses to really start to embed these technologies into their organisations."

Read more: Microsoft boss: 'Blockchain needs a 'ChatGPT moment'

Technological unemployment

Hulme then referred to the possibility of a near-future "economic singularity", a word coined by AI expert Calum Chace, where AI technologies essentially create mass unemployment.

He added: "The concern over the next 15 years, is are we going to create mass unemployment?

"That could cause a huge amount of social unrest because our economies can't rebalance."

The disruptive power of AI could automate away the jobs that many humans do today. Hulme warned that society needs to get the balance and timing right so that this transition is a just one, free of potential social unrest.

He said: "There is a school of thought that actually we should be using these technologies to remove as much friction as possible from the the creation of goods, and this friction usually means human labour.

"So actually we should be automating as much as possible the creation of food, health care, education, energy.

"And if we get the timing right, there's a possibility you could make all of that stuff free. You can bring the cost down so much that we live in a world of abundance, where people are born into a world that they don't have to pay for food, they don't have to pay for education. It's free. If we get the timing wrong, we could have a huge amount of social unrest."

We asked the artificial intelligence programme itself if ChatGPT will lead to mass unemployment.

The AI answered and said: "It is possible that the adoption of ChatGPT and other language models like it could lead to some job losses or changes in certain industries. Automation of certain tasks and the ability of language models to analyse large amounts of data could make some jobs obsolete or lead to increased productivity, which could result in downsizing of certain roles.

"However, it is also possible that the use of ChatGPT and other language models could lead to the creation of new jobs and industries.

"It's important to note that technological advancements throughout history have always led to changes in the labor market, but have not caused mass unemployment."

Read more: ChatGPT: three steps to master this AI tool

Hulme, who is also the founder of AI-solutions company Stalia, said that over the next few years the world will see even more exponential improvements of these AI technologies.

When asked if the tech was just an incredibly sophisticated mimic of human creativity and that it fails to generate anything original, Hulme argued: "It's absolutely creating new content. I asked it recently what it knew about me and it was very good, it made some inferences about my history, my work experience, that is not currently true and doesn't exist on the internet.

"However, it was using its predictive power and logic to try to make inferences that were novel. But I guess there's a whole spectrum of what it means to be creative, to create things that are new.

"I saw recently somebody asked it to create an episode of Red Dwarf and include four jokes, it was excellent."

Investment from Microsoft and the future of internet search engines

Microsoft (MSFT) recently invested heavily in this technology, which could empower the next generation of internet search engines. There is speculation that Microsoft's Bing search engine could gain a technological head-start on competitor Google search.

However, Hulme stated that Google (GOOG) will be releasing their own version of ChatGPT, called Sparrow saying that AI technologies will soon be embedded within most Microsoft and Google applications.

He added: "It's going to help us write formulas in Excel and help users write essays in Microsoft Word. It'll essentially be embedded across all of our different tools that we use as an advisor to help us improve the output of them."

This picture taken on January 23, 2023 in Toulouse, southwestern France, shows screens displaying the logos of Microsoft and ChatGPT, a conversational artificial intelligence application software developed by OpenAI. - Microsoft extended on January 23 its partnership with with OpenAI, the research lab and creator of ChatGPT, a conversational artificial intelligence application software, in a
ChatGPT is not capable of true understanding and operates like an automated encyclopedia. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP.

A Brave New World

If the forecasts are correct and the future is saturated with artificial intelligence applications, which industries are going to be the biggest winners, which the biggest losers?

To this question Hulme responded by referring to two definitions of artificial intelligence. He said: "The first one is getting computers to do things that humans can do, and ChatGPT is an excellent example of that. So we can start to see these technologies replacing tasks that human beings do. But those organisations are really going to win are organisations that can adapt very quickly to a changing world and actually have a much, much better definition of AI."

He added that this new definition of intelligence is referred to as, "goal directed adaptive behaviour", which Hulme outlines in an essay.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, media outlet Buzzfeed has already announced plans to use ChatGPT technology to produce a portion of its content.

Shagun Karki Chetri, founder of tech PR agency Makeraves told Yahoo Finance that every content creator should be learning how to leverage AI to create content.

Karkri Chetri uses the following analogy for companies that neglect to incorporate AI into their business models, adding that, "if a company doesn't use AI, it’s like a kid who has to walk to school on their own, they'll get there, but they're missing out on all the benefits of being driven by a parent".

The measure of success here is the ability of an individual or organisation to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing world.

The awareness and dexterity to respond positively to change will ultimately be the deciding factor behind the organisations that succeed in this fast approaching brave new world.

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