Future CEOs and other high-ranking executives may have mixed feelings when looking back on November 30, 2022. This date marked the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which completely changed the landscape of which workers would be most affected by automation. Instead of low- and middle-skilled workers, it is now the top executives who find themselves in the crosshairs of artificial intelligence.
According to economist and professor Anton Korinek, machines may eventually be able to make decisions that CEOs would normally make. The question that remains is how long it will take for this transition to take place. This research finding is a complete reversal from past studies. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development previously stated that top executives were among the least threatened by automation. However, recent studies based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor suggest a different outlook.
Incorporation laws do not mandate that companies must have CEOs or other officers. Charles Elson, a corporate governance authority, states that the affairs of a corporation are simply under the direction of the board of directors. However, in practice, the C-suite may be more protected than initially thought. While technology plays a role in how top-level jobs are performed, it is not the sole determinant. A chatbot would need to overcome several challenges before replacing a CEO.
The first challenge is the ability to perform the entire job. If AI can do almost all of a CFO’s job, for example, it enhances the productivity and value of the CFO. However, complete job substitution would result in the worker becoming unemployed. While current AI technologies can serve as a complement to C-suite executives, they are not yet capable of fully substituting their roles. The advancement of AI engines, which are doubling their capabilities every three to six months, suggests that complete substitution may be closer than expected.
The second challenge is satisfying regulators. All businesses, especially heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare, face strict regulations. As AI takes over CFO responsibilities, regulators will closely scrutinize the trustworthiness of AI systems. Regulators will scrutinize AI systems’ adherence to regulations, especially considering the concerns about ChatGPT’s tendency to hallucinate information.
The third challenge is satisfying society, including customers, employees, shareholders, and communities. Even if AI can make better decisions than humans, there are certain human qualities that society values in top leaders. It is not just about making the correct decision; it’s about persuading and motivating others to follow that decision. The advancement of AI forces society to question the human qualities they appreciate in leadership roles. This may result in C-suite positions being reserved for humans, even if AI can perform the tasks more effectively and at a lower cost.
In conclusion, while ChatGPT and other AI technologies have the potential to replace C-suite positions, they are not currently capable of doing so. The challenges of performing the entire job, satisfying regulators, and meeting societal expectations create barriers to full AI substitution. However, as AI continues to advance, it is essential to monitor its potential impact on executive roles.
Editor Notes: The introduction of ChatGPT has sparked discussions about the future of executive positions and automation. It is fascinating to observe how research findings have shifted, highlighting the potential vulnerability of CEOs in the face of AI. While regulations and societal expectations pose challenges to full AI substitution, it will be interesting to see how technology continues to evolve and reshape the business landscape. For more information and insights on AI and its impact on various industries, visit GPT News Room.