ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have been held up as the boogeyman since they came onto the scene last year; “They will eventually take your job” is the mantra, but we just continue to brush off this doom and gloom. Now, the Washington Post is reporting that generative AI is no boogeyman and has actually started pushing people out of jobs.
Generative AI is far from perfect, and the more you let it rattle on, the more obvious its errors are to see. For social media writers, however, it seems that companies think that AI is “good enough” for the job.
The Post highlighted the story of Olivia Lipkin, a 25-year-old copywriter from San Francisco, who worked at a tech start-up. She said that she didn’t think much of ChatGPT when it launched last November but over the following months, she noticed that her managers had begun referring to her as Olivia/ChatGPT on Slack (how rude!) and in April, she was fired.
Lipkin was reportedly never given a reason for her job loss but she found out that managers at the company had been writing about how ChatGPT was cheaper to use than hiring a writer; the reason why she had been sacked became clear to her.
“Whenever people brought up ChatGPT, I felt insecure and anxious that it would replace me,” she said. “Now I actually had proof that it was true, that those anxieties were warranted and now I was actually out of a job because of AI.”
Microsoft has been a major proponent in the generative AI scene, funding OpenAI to continue its work and launching Bing Chat which leverages ChatGPT. Microsoft has tried to balance the fact that AI can do some tasks humans do with the idea that these tools should be used to help human workers, but not replace them.
One of the very important points to consider in Lipkin’s story is the economic times we live in. With interest rates rapidly rising around the world, consumers are spending less and businesses are cutting back to reduce costs and focus on profitable ventures.
It’s likely, especially considering she worked at a start-up, that Lipkin’s firing was more to do with tighter budgets than ChatGPT coming to take all the jobs. The true impact of generative AI will be seen after inflation comes down, rates fall, and normalcy returns – if humans get permanently replaced then it could create big problems for those affected.
Source: The Washington Post