Are we moving into a post-job economy? Can the concept of the job continue to be the primary way that people work? Building ways to constantly change roles can be one way to get rid of the standardized job, which has decreasing usefulness in a creative, networked AI-assisted economy. We should be preempting automation by identifying what routine work should be automated as quickly as possible, so that people can focus on what machines cannot do — being curious, creative, empathetic, passionate, and humourous.
One area of dwindling jobs is at the entry level. This creates a challenge for career development. It is difficult to start as a highly skilled worker, especially since our academic institutions focus on knowledge acquisition and provide very little skill development. Standardized curricula are useless in developing those skills listed above that machines cannot do. Standardization is the enemy of creativity.
The latest push to automate work is targeted at human communication, specifically writing , the most talked-about being ChatGPT. Derek Thompson, in The Atlantic, thinks that even creativity will not save jobs from AI, “But you don’t need a wild imagination to see that the future cracked open by these technologies is full of awful and awesome possibilities.” This led me to advise — in GPT-3 through a glass darkly — that if you are early in your career, it may be best not to specialize but develop several complementary skills — in the sciences AND the humanities — including writing.
Dave Cormier sees a major shift in human work coming through these ‘autotuning’ tools that give everyone that capability of sounding or looking like an expert.
“The real danger is not to people who are experts in their fields. Super experts in every field will continue to do what they have always done. All of us, however, are novices in almost everything we do. Most of us will never be experts in anything. The vast majority of the human experience of learning about something is done at the novice level.
That experience is about to be autotuned.”
Nobody knows how these technologies will continue to develop, be used, and most likely misused. But like many other technologies — spreadsheets, the web, search engines — they will almost certainly have an impact on how we work with each other. At this time we do not need more ChatGPT experts. What we need are people who can see these technologies in the context of human work. We need more ‘what-if’ questions to be asked. What if basic skills are auto-tuned?