Can Generative AI grow better jobs?

Moneycontrol, July 27, 2023 

By Pradeep S Mehta & Navneet Sharma

It’s 2023, and generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) tools are taking the world by storm. They are performing complex and sophisticated tasks that involve creativity and innovation such as generating text, images, music, code and even synthetic data for specific purposes. Since, the traditional advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, deployed during the last decade or so, effectively performed numerical tasks. An important question being asked is how Gen AI will impact jobs.

Other than jobs, such radical computational ability today can render sweeping alterations to value chains that produce goods and services to unleash new avenues of productivity growth. According to Goldman Sachs, these tools can drive a seven percent or almost $7 trillion increase in the global GDP and lift productivity growth by 1.5 percentage points over a period of 10 years.

Let’s first take a look at the potential of Gen AI. It can streamline business workflows, automate routine tasks, and give rise to a new generation of business applications. These newfound technologies have the potential to significantly impact various industries and business functions, leading to increased productivity. Thus, by some estimates, half of today’s work activities will be automated by 2045. It is believed that Gen AI will likely have a greater impact on knowledge work, including activities involving decision-making and collaboration, read white-collar jobs.

New Occupations To Emerge

Throughout human history, job displacement and new occupations due the technological innovation have been happening. This is part of Schumpterian economics which speaks about destruction leading to new things. Many a time they cause awe. Given that Gen AI is impacting the activities involving decision-making and collaborations such as content writing and editing, journalism, law, graphics designing, music composition, customer services, data entry, administration, bookkeeping, taxation, insurance and loan approval, its primary role is likely to be to assist and enhance human creativity, rather than replacing it altogether. Gen AI will also create new jobs in the market related to AI.

New job roles such as AI ethics expert, AI systems manager, data annotation specialist, AI prompt engineer, AI-based fact checker and human-AI interaction specialists are likely to emerge. But their skilling needs much more attention than being given.

Initial results from empirical studies suggest so. Sridhar Narayanan of Stanford University and his co-authors analysed data from about 65,000 customers who use HealthifyMe, which provides weight loss plans for people in India. The study focused on two types of plans: one guided by both human coaches and artificial intelligence (AI), and the other guided solely by AI.

The results revealed that individuals following the plan guided by both human coaches and AI experienced an average weight loss of approximately five pounds over a three-month period. In contrast, those who relied solely on AI guidance achieved a slightly lower average weight loss of around three pounds. “The difference is small in absolute terms when averaged across all customers, but it is very large in relative terms, with the weight loss being over 74 percent higher for consumers with AI plus human coaches. This suggests that the combination of human support and AI assistance can provide a more comprehensive and effective approach to yield better results.

Accuracy Not Granted
However, the devil is in the details. A Gen AI model itself also faces some shortcomings as they use vast amounts of content from across the internet and then use information, they are trained on, to make predictions and create an output for the prompt one inputs. These models may not be aware of the accuracy of the results they provide.

Therefore, even though the outcomes of generative AI can be fascinating and enjoyable, it would be naive to solely rely on the knowledge or content they produce, at least in the short term. The user has to be careful in using the machine-generated content, by repeating their search a few times. A recent CNN report highlights the inadequacies of using AI tools in generating stories. The users even used AI-based fact checkers to sanitize AI-generated work. However, this did not help and produced either false positives or false negatives.

At this point in time, it would be best to consider Gen AI in the ‘sandbox’. The key here is to figure out how humans and machines can best work together, resulting in humans’ abilities being multiplied, rather than divided. So that it can either add to the “creativity quotient” of humans or offer newer ways to render old jobs.

Pradeep S Mehta is chairman and Navneet Sharma is Director General of CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC). Preeti Jangid contributed to the article. CUTS is intimately involved in a Good and Better Jobs campaign, supported by Ford Foundation. Views are personal, and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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