Most Jobs Soon To Be ‘Influenced’ By Artificial Intelligence, Research Out Of OpenAI And University Of Pennsylvania Suggests

As artificial intelligence opens up and becomes democratized through platforms offering generative AI, it’s likely to alter tasks within at least 80% of all jobs, a new analysis suggests. Jobs requiring college education will see the highest impacts, and in many cases, at least half of peoples’ tasks may be affected by AI. It’s extremely important to add that affected occupations will be significantly influenced or augmented by generative AI, not replaced.

That’s the word from a paper published by a team of researchers from OpenAI, OpenResearch, and the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers included Tyna Eloundou with OpenAI, Sam Manning with OpenResearch and OpenAI, Pamela Mishkin with OpenAI, and Daniel Rock, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, also affiliated with OpenAI and OpenResearch.

The research looked at the potential implications of GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) models and related technologies on occupations, assessing their exposure to GPT capabilities. “Our findings indicate that approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce could have at least 10% of their work tasks affected by the introduction of GPTs, while around 19% of workers may see at least 50% of their tasks impacted,” Eloundou and her colleagues estimate. “The influence spans all wage levels, with higher-income jobs potentially facing greater exposure” — particularly jobs requiring college degrees. At the same time, they observe, “considering each job as a bundle of tasks, it would be rare to find any occupation for which AI tools could do nearly all of the work.”

The researchers base their study on GPT-4, and use the terms large language models (LLMs) and GPTs interchangeably.

Their findings suggest that programming and writing skills are more likely to be ”influenced” by generative AI. On the other hand, occupations or tasks involving science and critical thinking skills are less likely to be influenced. Occupations that are seeing or will see a high degree of AI-based influence and augmentation (again, emphasis on influence and augment) include the following:

  • Interpreters and translators
  • Survey researchers
  • Poets, lyricists and creative writers
  • Animal scientists
  • Public relations specialists
  • Writers and authors
  • Mathematicians
  • Tax preparers
  • Financial quantitative analysts
  • Web and digital interface designers

GPTs “are improving in capabilities over time with the ability to complete or be helpful for an increasingly complex set of tasks and use-cases,” Eloundou and her co-authors point out. They caution, however, that the definition of a “task” is very fluid. “It is unclear to what extent occupations can be entirely broken down into tasks, and whether this approach systematically omits certain categories of skills or tasks that are tacitly required for competent performance of a job,” they add. “Additionally, tasks can be composed of sub-tasks, some of which are more automatable than others.”

There’s more implications to AI than simply taking over tasks, of course. “While the technical capacity for GPTs to make human labor more efficient appears evident, it is important to recognize that social, economic, regulatory, and other factors will influence actual labor productivity outcomes,” the team states. There will be broader implications for AI as it progresses, “including their potential to augment or displace human labor, their impact on job quality, impacts on inequality, skill development, and numerous other outcomes.”

Still, “accurately predicting future LLM applications remains a significant challenge, even for experts,” Eloundou and her co-authors caution. “The discovery of new emergent capabilities, changes in human perception biases, and shifts in technological development can all affect the accuracy and reliability of predictions regarding the potential impact of GPTs on worker tasks and the development of GPT-powered software.”

An important takeaway from this study is that generative AI — not to mention AI in all forms — is reshaping the workplace in ways that currently cannot be imagined. Yes, some occupations may eventually disappear, but those that can harness the productivity and power of AI to create new innovations and services that improve the lives of customers or people will be well-placed for the economy of the mid-to-late 2020s and beyond.


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