The Badger’s been experimenting for some time with Bing Chat, an integration of the GPT model developed by OpenAI with Microsoft’s search engine. It’s been both fun and thought-provoking. The capability is impressive, which is why there’s been massive interest in the technology in the 6 months since the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Many of the Badger’s interactions have made him chuckle, roll his eyes in annoyance, or better appreciate its use for good or evil, but every interaction has, in truth, reinforced why Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, calls on US lawmakers to regulate AI. This capability has enormous scope to develop further. It’s already engaging the public and changing the way things are done, and it will continue to do so in the future. The Badger, like many, sees many pros and cons, but the primary outcome of his experimentation has been to crystalize the realisation that he must deal with how this impacts his content-producing activities like the writing of the blog you are reading now.
AI is destined to affect the activities and jobs of white-collar workers across a wide variety of industries (see here and here, for example). Indeed, the Badger can think of many functions and jobs that could be impacted by AI-centred automation in the IT industry alone. With perpetual improvement to make the profits stakeholders expect at the core of any business’s survivability, it’s inevitable that AI will speed up the drive for organisations to do more with less people, especially as employing people is expensive. Working in IT or tech industries doesn’t provide immunity from this impact, as BT’s recent announcement highlights. BT is cutting more than 10,000 jobs due to new technology and AI over the next 6 years. For employees in any organisation, therefore, this isn’t a time to stick your head in the sand; it’s a time to scan the horizon, think about how your livelihood might be impacted, and assess your options for countering the threat. All is not completely bleak, however, because AI seems unlikely to replace jobs requiring human skills such as creativity, judgement, physical dexterity and emotional intelligence. If these dominate your job, then the immediate threat is limited.
Experimenting with Bing Chat brings much of the media debate and commentary on AI to life. It’s made the Badger think seriously about intellectual property, ethics, and things like the transparency of content origination in a world where services like Bing Chat cannot be ignored. The Badger believes people deserve to know if any of the content they read online has been generated using a service like Bing Chat or Google Bard. Well, if you’ve read this far, then you can be confident that what you’ve read has been created entirely by a human being. It contains nothing generated by Bing Chat or any other similar capability.