'I Have 3 Years Left of Work': More AI Managers Believe AI Will Eventually Take Their Jobs

Employees who are developing AI models warn that AI could take their jobs.

More AI Managers Believe AI Will Eventually Take Their Jobs
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Artificial intelligence is one of the most significant technological advances in human history. Like the advent of the steam engine or the Internet, there's a lot of uncertainty about how it will impact employment and the global economy.

One AI executive sees it coming. Avital Balwit is chief of staff to the CEO at Anthropic, one of the most popular AI startups of the moment. In an open letter published on Palladium, she reflects on the real risk of being replaced by AI in the medium term.

“I am 25. These next three years might be the last few years that I work. I am not ill, nor am I becoming a stay-at-home mom, nor have I been so financially fortunate to be on the brink of voluntary retirement. I stand at the edge of a technological development that seems likely, should it arrive, to end employment as I know it,” Balwit explained.

Hello automation, goodbye remote work. The Anthropic employee also claims that AI is experiencing exponential growth that could replace any remote position. “Generally, tasks that involve reading, analyzing, and synthesizing information, and then generating content based on it, seem ripe for replacement by language models,” she said.

However, in her opinion, jobs that require manual and manufacturing skills will survive. Balwit predicts that “electricians, gardeners, plumbers, jewelry makers, hair stylists, as well as those who repair ironwork or make stained glass might find their handiwork contributing to our society for many more years to come.”

Predictions prove her right. The World Economic Forum's study on the “Jobs of Tomorrow: Large Language Models and Jobs” points in the same direction, suggesting that positions with the greatest permeability to process automation through technology will be the greatest impacted by AI. These include jobs in information technology, finance, and sales.

The study also agrees with Balwit’s analysis that AI will have little impact on manufacturing jobs, where creativity or manual skills prevent tasks from being automated. She also highlights jobs that require a human presence to foster trust and closeness: “Jobs that might fall into this category include counselors, doulas, caretakers for the elderly, babysitters, preschool teachers, priests, and religious leaders.”

Fewer middle managers. She believes her current job is at risk in the medium term and she may be right, at least in part. In fact, AI models are already performing HR tasks, so it’s natural that middle managers see their jobs as being at risk due to the reduced need for humans to assign tasks to teams.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang pointed to this situation in the presentation of its most recent chips at Computex 2024, indicating that an AI can analyze a project’s needs and assign tasks to different departments. This could mean that if these middle management positions aren't completely eliminated, they will at least be significantly reduced.

The risk of specialized AI automating employment. The remaining middle management positions will face a much more competitive employment scenario regarding skills. But this situation has been around for a while. Two decades ago, employers asked for someone who knew how to use a computer or a program. In the future, they’ll ask for someone who knows how to use AI tools.

As veteran AI expert David Scott Lewis explained in an interview on YouTuber Xavier Mitjana’s channel put it: “You don’t get hired at a company because you know a lot about general culture. They hire you because you specialize in a specific task. The same thing happens with AGI. In that sense, AGIs are insignificant for employment in general. However, AI already surpasses today what humans can do in very specific tasks.”

More “augmented intelligence.” For Scott Lewis, who was forged in companies like Google, Samsung, and Oracle, the scenario isn't that catastrophic. “What could be imposed is the use of AI tools that put you on ‘steroids,’ an augmented intelligence for people. Tools that lead to the augmentation of their intelligence. Employees using AI to create new products. Those who don’t master this technology could be in serious trouble. No matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t know how to use these ‘steroids,’ they’re likely to put a target on your back and replace you with someone who does,” he said.

PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey shows that 69% of global CEOs already know that AI will require the majority of their workforce to develop new skills to learn how to use, which will impact job requirements in the coming years.

Balwit’s days may be numbered. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, “unlike previous waves of automation, which tended to affect middle-skilled workers, the risk of displacement by AI will now extend to high-skilled workers and those with the highest wages.”

Image | Unsplash (Redd F)

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