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ChatGPT: here to help or steal your job?

Josephine Hansom Managing Director, Youth 16/12/2022
On the 30th of November OpenAI launched its latest invention – ChatGPT – to the public, a prototype AI chatbot that has been designed to produce human-like responses to a variety of inputs. Less than a week after its launch date, ChatGPT had already surpassed one million users.

According to OpenAI, the dialogue format means ChatGPT can answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.

Results from our latest survey reveal only 5% of the UK public have used ChatGPT so far, this rises to 7% amongst males (vs 5% for females) and 12% amongst 25–34-year-olds – the highest percentage of all age groups from 18-65+.

Of those that have used the software, 48% believe it will soon be commonplace.

Furthermore, almost half (46%) of users believe it will be useful in the future, while nearly a third disagree (29%).

Many users of the software have taken to social media to express their amazement at its capabilities, but with the ability to write detailed essays and produce complex code – such as Python – will the latest developments in AI continue to assist human workers, or simply replace them?

In terms of how it could be used, responses varied with 35% of users saying it would be helpful in their jobs (vs 48% not helpful), while 32% believe it could help them in their personal life.

Though many consumers can see the benefits of ChatGPT, a quarter (23%) are worried that ChatGPT or similar AI programmes will put their jobs at risk.

AI and management consulting

We have already seen AI replace workers in many industries, from cashiers to phone operators and warehouse workers to travel agents. Yet with advances in software now being far superior than some of us could have ever imagined, AI technology has the potential to encroach on corporate roles – with management consulting a particularly interesting profession to examine.

Management consulting combines the skills of researchers, analysis, advisors, and accountants to help businesses grow. Consultants need to be great with data (analytical), be able to build rapport with clients (empathy) and solve some of the trickiest problems in business (creative). How does AI measure up against this skillset?

There are a host of administrative and quantitative tasks that consultants deal with on a day-to-day basis, which AI technologies are capable of completing. These tasks include efficient data collection and analysis, automated emails, surveys, chatbots, and more, freeing consultants of routinely administrative duties so that they can focus on the more creative side of things.

Although AI may help to streamline a consultant’s workload, consulting often involves solving difficult, open-ended issues which requires for ingenuity, intuition and being pragmatic – something the technology isn’t up to yet (yet being the important word).

Consultants also build rapport with clients and create strong business relationships by persuading others, closing deals, or finding a common ground.  All skills that are not possible using mainstream AI systems.

The frontline of consulting is yet to feel the full impact AI is making on the wider consulting industry. Whilst automated responses and high-speed data analysis can (and eventually will) be used to improve operations, it is unlikely AI will be utilised for bespoke consulting.

Whether you welcome it or not, expect to see the gradual adoption of AI technologies across a growing number of industries. We are already seeing it make waves in medicine, with many Big Pharma companies already leveraging the power of AI to improve development and diagnostics.

Threat to entry level jobs

If we look beyond the industries that are likely to transformed by AI, there is a much more evident threat to entry level jobs.

Cast your mind back to the start of your career, to the tasks you were asked to complete for the managers in your team. Could AI do those tasks today? Could AI do a better job of delivering those tasks than you did? The likely answer is yes.

Graduates of tomorrow will be entering a different world. Many of the entry level jobs that will not exist, replaced by more efficient and cost-effective AI. According to McCrindle, 65% of Generation Alpha (the children being born today) will do a job that’s not being done today.

Josephine Hansom, Savanta VP and Youth Practice lead says we shouldn’t underestimate the impact this will have…

“A more efficient future workforce sounds like a win-win but without an updated education system, a generation of young people are at risk of becoming redundant without the opportunity to bridge the skills gap and gain professional skills.”

Whether you’ve already used ChatGPT, or this article has inspired you to try it out, recognise that this is just the beginning. Integrating AI into our everyday lives will become more commonplace from now on… Are you ready?

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