AI is taking your job

Main image from Unsplash

The launch of ChatGPT (an artificial intelligence that can write copy for you) has been met with a muted response from the mainstream media. This seems odd to me as ChatGPT has the potential to make journalists redundant.

In fact, such intelligences are going to make many professionals unemployed — solicitors, GPs, accountants, teachers, artists, to name a few.

Artificial Intelligence is the new revolution that is going to make the industrial revolution look benign in comparison. The middle-class will be hollowed out with only a few being able to retrain as…what? AI programmers? Hairdressers?

Society is completely unprepared for this massive change and it scares me.

It’s why I’d like to start a conversation about it.

Every new technology promises that it will lessen the drudgery of repetitive labour, freeing humans to pursue more of what they’re interested in. But these interests are now being undermined by thinking machines: that creative writing course you’ve enrolled on is now just about how to prepare your request of the AI so it writes your poem or novel with the best results. Same with the ‘painting’ course.

And the promised leisure time new technology is supposed to generate never materialises. It can even eat into leisure time. With ‘smart’ technology, we have the seven-day working week for the majority of people who perform bullshit jobs.

People need something to do. Even bullshit jobs are better than nothing. But If tireless machines are set to perform brilliantly at all levels – even the bullshit ones, what will humans do to occupy their time? Will they find engagement in activism and civil unrest or will society atrophy into a grey goo, passively consuming machine generated content?

And of course, who will control this all-conquering AI? The same billionaires who control nearly everything else?

It’s genuinely a frightening future.


  1. I am not so confident about that. AI has to be trained with existing data before it can work. This has a number of implications:

    (1) If the data going in is wrong, the AI output will also be wrong, known as GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)
    (2) An AI has to be continually retrained to stay relevant. If it isn’t, over time as the world changes its output becomes increasingly irrelevant and inaccurate.
    (3) An AI can’t generate anything genuinely original, that hasn’t been done before.

    There is still plenty of room for human interaction, and originality and the “human touch” will continue to be valuable, and may even command a higher premium. Like how, in an age of mechanised food production, people will seek out and pay more for “home cooked” or unprocessed food.

    1. Thanks for your comment. That’s probably a more realistic assessment of how things will pan out. Regarding your point about AI having to work with existing material, I was reading the other day about a Californian artist who’s suing an AI for copyright infringement. The situation reminds me of when the internet started to develop and the notion of publishing was thrown into question. The tech companies claimed they weren’t responsible for what was being published on their sites and yet they were happy to take money from them.

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