With reports saying artificial intelligence system ChatGPT has passed exams and can produce reports, experts have warned that some jobs could become obsolete in the future.
Earlier this week, a research paper said ChatGPT was able to pass a graduate-level exam at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Some professors have expressed alarm about students using the service to cheat on exams or their homework.
But if the system becomes capable, ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence could replace a number of white-collar jobs, some researchers have warned.
“AI is replacing the white-collar workers. I don’t think anyone can stop that,” Pengcheng Shi, an associate dean in the department of computing and information sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, told the New York Post on Wednesday. “This is not crying wolf,” Shi added. “The wolf is at the door.”
Jobs in the financial sector, health care, publishing, and other industries are vulnerable, Shi said. But people, he added, will be able to learn how to harness AI technology.
In the media field, AI technology has faced difficulties. Some outlets and journalists have noted that the system is poor with facts.
“Copy editing is certainly something it does an extremely good job at. Summarizing, making an article concise and things of that nature, it certainly does a really good job,” Chinmay Hegde, a computer science and electrical engineering associate professor at New York University, told the Post.
“You can ask it to provide an essay, to produce a story with citations, but more often than not, the citations are just made up,” Hegde continued. “That’s a known failure of ChatGPT and honestly we do not know how to fix that.”
Hegde added to the paper that some simple website designers and engineers are at risk of losing their jobs.
“I worry for such people. Now I can just ask ChatGPT to generate a website for me—any type of person whose routine job would be doing this for me is no longer needed,” he said.
Earlier in January, Princeton student Edward Tian told NPR that he created an app to see if something was written via AI, called GPTZero.
“Humans deserve to know when something is written by a human or written by a machine,” Tian told the outlet.
Some financial jobs will also become obsolete in the coming months and years, Shi warned.
“I definitely think [it will impact] the trading side, but even [at] an investment bank, people [are] hired out of college and spend two, three years to work like robots and do Excel modeling—you can get AI to do that,” he told the paper. “Much, much faster.”
ChatGPT made headlines recently after law professors at the University of Minnesota used the popular artificial intelligence chatbot to generate answers to exams in four courses last semester, then graded them blindly alongside actual students’ tests.
ChatGPT’s average C+ performance fell below the humans’ B+ average, the authors said. If applied across the curriculum, that would still be enough to earn the chatbot a law degree—though it would be placed on academic probation at Minnesota, ranked as the 21st best law school in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
“Alone, ChatGPT would be pretty mediocre law student,” said lead study author Jonathan Choi, who collaborated with professors Kristin Hickman, Amy Monahan, and Daniel Schwarcz.
Some intern jobs, including unpaid ones, may also get axed in the future.
A tech marketing agency, Codeword, said it decided to use so-called AI “interns” to assist its design and editorial teams to carry out “menial yet necessary tasks.”
“It’s an opportunity to streamline internal processes by eliminating necessary but mind-numbing and time-consuming tasks—or at least to pass them off onto emotionless interns who can’t get bored,” said Codeword senior editor Terrence Doyle, according to Axios.
OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, created a separate tool, DALL-E, which can generate images from user prompts on command. Hegde said that the tool, along with Stable Diffusion and others, pose a threat to the graphic design industry.
“Before, you would ask a photographer or you would ask a graphic designer to make an image [for websites]. That’s something very, very plausibly automated by using technology similar to ChatGPT,” he told the Post.
Reuters contributed to this report.