How to survive the AI Job Apocalypse.

By
Mark Rodseth, Group Technical Director in London, UK
Date:
02 September 2022
Photograph:

Advances in machine learning technology are driving a boom in new AI tools that are both incredible and terrifying.

Recently, Dall-E opened its beta doors to millions of users who can now produce mind-blowing images from just a few words of text. The header image was created by typing “A profile photo of an office worker and staring into the eyes of a cyborg robot set in a dilapidated office.”

AI Meta

Like Dall-E there are other image creation tools launching which are going to have a major impact on the professional life of artists and visual designers. Google’s Imagen and Midjourney are two serious competitors to Dall-E 2, both currently in Beta.

AI Beyond Art

As more tools emerge taking advantage of the rapidly advancing AI/ML technology on offer, the blast radius will continue to expand, affecting more and more industries and the professionals who work within them.

Today there are many examples where this is already a reality.

Content creators, arm yourselves with sharpened pencils! Open AI’s GPT-3 delivers well composed copy-writing from just a few prompts, whilst Rytr can punch out some snappy copy in over thirty languages with a few clicks of a button. With thispersondoesnotexist.com you can create high definition photos of faces that don’t exist.

Software engineers, open your curtains, squint, and prepare for the light of a new dawn! Open AIs Codex will translate natural language to a coding language of your choice. GitHub’s CoPilot has used this technology to create a virtual pair programmer to do a lot of your job for you.

Doctors and Physicians, power down Wikipedia and WebMD! AI is going to bring diagnostic superpowers that will make you a mere facilitator in machine-led diagnosis and medical treatment.

And delivery drivers, well, I’m afraid you are pretty high up on Elon Musk’s hit list.

Is there hope?

The examples above are a fraction of the industries that will be impacted by the AI onslaught. It’s not clear what the timeline for bot replacement is, and it varies depending on your job, but with the recent advances it is (to me anyway) wildly apparent we need to be prepared, and prepare the youth for what is to come.

A long hot summer of reflecting on this topic has led me to identify five key strategies to adopt to keep ourselves employed, useful and maintain our sense of purpose.

1. Master the tools

AI programs are ultimately tools. They will still need operators and will have their own idiosyncrasies and complexities. The tools may create the most amazing things thanks to AI, but there will always be a place for the master operator.

2. Foster Creative Curation

An extension to the above idea. Creative curation is being able to utilise a number of tools and curating their outputs into a single cohesive whole — that solves a problem. This ability to curate and stitch together different outputs will be a long standing human skill that those pesky bots will struggle to beat us at.

3. Embrace Human Interaction

Until bots have achieved super intelligence and are self-motivated and self-directed, they will still be software programs that need input. Being able to relate to people, understand their needs and problems and then being able to translate those into AI driven solutions requires a human set of skills (e.g. empathy) that are essential. Whether you are in sales, building products or providing services, those that can really relate and empathise with the customer will be an irreplaceable asset in any organisation.

4. Nurture an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Robots, so far, aren’t instigators. Human entrepreneurs best encapsulate the ability to identify opportunities, act on them and create value. They may use tools to aid this process but that spirit of innovation, that creative spark and the instigated action will be the preserve of our species for a long time to come.

5. Some careers will always be sacred.

When selecting a career, think carefully about where this will be in five or ten years in the future. Some careers will stand the test of automation better than others and it might be wise stacking your chips on those. For example, psychologists are going to be needed as humans become more disillusioned and disenfranchised. Human vets will always be needed as animals respond to human qualities.

A final thought

As a final thought, here are some of the other Dall-E variations that didn’t make the final cut based on similar themed prompts. I don’t think I showcased Dall-E’s capabilities in its best light — which takes us back to Strategy 1. Master the Tools.

1

My, what tired eyes you have.

2

Tough being the new guy/gal.

3

Karaoke Office Bot

4

More than just a whiteboard eraser!

5

This fight never progressed.

6

Struggling here to figure out what they are doing.

6

Human out-creeps robot.