Generative artificial intelligence, such as Chat GPT, Bard and Dall-E, should not be feared, but embraced because they will improve efficiency rather than replace humans in the job market, technology experts say.
Since the launch of Chat GPT in November last year, there has been speculation on online fora, such as Reddit, that generative AI will replace many jobs in the future because of their ability to perform many tasks such as coding, writing and creating content. However, technology experts believe that generative AI will benefit organisations and their employees rather than replace jobs.
Kathryn Chin See, manager, research and innovation at MC Systems, points out that generative AI will benefit both working teams and the organisation because it can carry out the mundane tasks while allowing team members to focus on other areas where they can be more creative.
“AI as a technology will help to improve not just your company, but also members of the team. Those everyday tasks that employees find tedious can be done by the generative AI which can suggest new ways to approach the problem or complete the task itself. Normally, if one can find a way to fix a problem, you can move forward. Therefore, if the AI can fix these issues, then it means team members can turn their attention to other challenges that can improve productivity,” she pointed out.
The research and innovation manager added that human input was still needed with many tasks which meant that the collaboration between man and machine would help productivity.
“As humans, our creativity remains essential to many organisations. With generative AI assisting us with first drafts of various projects, the human element fine tuning what the AI generates means even greater solutions to complex problems,” she added.
Professor Sean Thorpe, Dean of the Faculty of Computing and Engineering at the University of Technology noted that technology on a whole is geared at improving workplace efficiency and generative AI would help this process.
“The fact that we are now in the fourth generation of the Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) – what we are seeing is heavy automation of the world industries just to remain relevant. And the world’s workforce has been embracing this change. I would debunk as a myth in 2023 that there is actually any fear at all with the adoption of this type of technology.”
Professor Thorpe adds that as more persons who are tech savvy enter the workforce, there is a greater embrace of technology such as generative AI.
“In Asia, for example, I am seeing where some professors have created robots in their split image to teach and run classes as if the human person was there and the students attend these classes,” he revealed. “This type of augmentation for the smart classroom environment, should be within the realm of our imagination that the society is on the cusp of new modes of learning to embrace their lives and livelihoods.”
Professor Thorpe added that generative AI is a broad label used to refer to any type of AI that continuously learns on its own merit and can be used to create new text, images, videos, code, audio, or synthetic data where artificial intelligence in broad terms is training the machine to think like humans by pre-programming the machine.
“Where data is available in various sources over the internet, once the machine has access to this data, it can continuously learn using generative AI. Chat GPT, the open source chatbot recently acquired by Microsoft for US$29 billion, is one example. Another is the new chatbot tool from Google called Bard,” he added.
Abhinav Aggarwal, chief executive officer, Fluid AI, an Indian-based technology start-up company that created the first fully automated banking branch for Bank of America, explained that it was people who could use AI who will dominate the workspace.
“You are not going to be replaced by an AI, so I don’t think that’s something that anyone needs to worry about. But you are going to be replaced by other humans using AI. What we will see is AI becoming more ingrained. And I think what we’re seeing is that shift from these generalised models like Chat GPT to a situation where organisations will deploy their GPT versions which know everything about that particular company,” he pointed out.
“This will change the way how people work because it’s going to make them super productive,” he explained.
Professor Thorpe noted that generative AI is currently used heavily in medical research, military and space technologies, and in more recent times in cybersecurity to monitor advance persistent threats. He pointed out that generative AI would be incorporated in areas such as managing business office operations, supplementing classroom instruction, assisting in medical procedures and supporting large scale research projects.
“The impact is already taking place, where jobs which are highly clerical are already replaced with the equivalent generative AI technologies, like your chatbots. This means that the knowledge and skills of workers of today and tomorrow will be those who practise deep analysis and synthesis in problem solving within their jobs, and their businesses,” he said.
Professor Thorpe points out that AI is here to stay and should not be feared.
“Companies should embrace AI by encouraging the use of the technology to support the business environment. I would recommend that companies start doing their research and experimentation with generative AI technologies. This will allow the management of companies to appreciate the lessons learnt from the technology experimentation, and then build into the business strategy the use of generative AI to support new forms of business delivery,” he added.