AI at Work: Bubbles in the sand Part I
Ground level on the use and benefits of generative AI in the world of work.
Generative AI—the algorithms that produce text, code, music lyrics, photo-like images, and digital art in response to user prompts—is disrupting numerous sectors throughout academia and business. Its rockstar, ChatGPT, gained over 100 million users in the space of the first two months following its launch. In the AI at Work series, I look at the ways professionals in a variety of fields are using (and not using) generative AI, and the associated risks and benefits of this technology for their profession. Before we dive into the first
rabbit dragon hole, let’s take a first-principles look at some universal truths about the way generative AI is impacting, or has the potential to impact, the world of work. “Bubbles in the Sand” parts I – III lay down the foundation for this exploration.
These first three posts were free through August; they have now gone back under the sands, behind the paywall. Why? Because I need to feed the data dragons, and those beasts are perpetually ravenous (I had managed to hide these first three posts from them, but they’ve sniffed out my tracks). If financial constraints make it challenging for you to upgrade, drop me a line and we’ll work it out—especially if your profession is being impacted by generative AI.
From education and publishing to automotive and manufacturing, the worlds of work and industry are facing potentially unprecedented disruption by AI systems, specifically generative AI.1 Uncertainty and fear swirl around the impact generative AI is already making in some fields, parting the waters of the working world into two sides: those embracing AI with open arms, whether for good or ill, and those fervently opposed to its all-too-active misuse, calling for strong regulation and protections. And yet, the parted sea analogy is not quite accurate, for there is a third cohort: those who see both the real-world impacts of gen AI, be they constructive or destructive, and the very real need to rethink, redesign, and reshape the way we work—and not just because of an algorithm.
When you see bubbles popping up in the sand as the waves recede, you might think those are pockets of air trapped below by the churning current. And you’d be right… at least about the tiny bubbles peppering the length of the shore. Some of you, though, might have a better idea—it’s more likely the Pacific mole crab digging its way below the sand surface in the swash zone. In the wake of the economic tides crashing on the shores of our livelihoods and careers, though, the bubbles are neither tiny nor caused by little creatures. There be AI dragons under them thar sands.
Ready to dig a few dragon burrows with me?
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