While there’s been no shortage of predictions about job loss, I doubt that will happen at any scale worth thinking about. ChatGPT will enhance employees’ skills, whether they’re sales reps, copywriters, or programmers; it will make them better at their jobs, and hopefully minimise some of the tasks that they least like doing. They’ll become more effective, with 10-30% increases in productivity and they’ll be able to give their employers a way to get ahead of their competition, but also not enough to result in mass unemployment.
The risk isn’t job loss, but an increase in the gap between junior and senior staff. If you look at programming, language models will certainly make it easier to learn, and will make it easier to write simple programs. But they’ll require greater attention to debugging. They’ll require the ability to read code that you didn’t write. Neither of those skills are simple. We’re all going to have to get much better at debugging, whether we’re writing copy or sales reports. It’s just too easy for language models to get things wrong, and everyone who uses them will have to take that into account. That’s the new part of the job that nobody’s talking about.
People shouldn’t stay away from ChatGPT and similar tools. They should definitely use them, but they need to learn how to use them effectively and accurately. Those are new skills that often aren’t considered when people talk about how ChatGPT will change the workplace. Will it change the workplace? Absolutely, and probably for the better. But it’s not magic. It’s a tool that you must learn to use effectively.