Some workers are worried that ChatGPT will replace their jobs. They might be right

Some jobs and skillsets may be at risk as ChatGPT and generative AI tools evolve.
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Robots taking over the world is an overused, almost eye-roll-inducing sci-fi trope at this point. And yet, some workers are starting to fear that might actually be their reality. 

As ChatGPT and other generative AI tools become mainstream, workers have growing concerns that these potentially helpful tools will encroach on their job responsibilities—and potentially put them out of work. 

Fact is, these technologies are already hitting the workplace. Even though OpenAI only launched ChatGPT in November 2022, 74% of employed Americans familiar with ChatGPT have used the technology for work-related tasks, according to a recent survey of nearly 4,000 U.S. adults fielded by The Harris Poll on behalf of Fortune.

And that’s likely to rise as over half of workers (56%) report their companies have already implemented discussions about using ChatGPT. 

Although the current iterations routinely offer inaccurate information and stodgy responses to creative prompts, it’s only a matter of time before these issues fade. That worries Americans, though many are divided on what they think the end result will be. 

About 40% of workers who are familiar with ChatGPT are concerned the artificial intelligence chatbot will replace their jobs entirely, while 60% are optimistic that generative AI will make them more productive at their jobs, according to the Harris survey. Just over a third of workers (38%) worry the technology may not replace them, but will make them less useful in the workplace. 

Future employment is a big part of the growing concerns around this form of AI. About 42% of Americans worry that ChatGPT will make it harder for them to find a new job. More than 7 in 10 believe that it’s likely AI technology will replace roles with a heavy focus on skills like data entry and processing, media and communications, coding, and even hiring-related tasks.

New research seemingly validates those sentiments. Based on initial projections, generative AI has the potential to affect roughly 10% of work tasks for eight in 10 U.S. workers. Around one in five workers will have about half of their work responsibilities affected by this technology, according to researchers

Jobs heavy in programming and writing skills are the most susceptible to being impacted by GPT technologies, while jobs centered in science and critical thinking are less likely to be affected, the research found. 

But Monster career expert Vicki Salemi writes there are steps workers can take now to help “robot-proof” their job. “Focus on strengthening your soft skills—something that AI falls short in—such as leadership, empathy, listening, and problem-solving,” she says. 

“Instead of waiting for tasks to be automated, audit your current job. Ask yourself what can be done by robots and what can’t and start adding value assuming there are parts to your job that are already automated,” Salemi adds. 

History offers some comfort here—workers have been through cycles of technological advancement for centuries and while there is reshaping and restructuring, there are opportunities as well.

"Every 10 to 15 years, we have a technological breakthrough that negatively impacts some jobs while creating new industries and career fields. We saw this with personal computers in the early '80s, the internet in the mid-'90s, smart devices and social media about 15 years ago, and now AI,” Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA, said in a statement. 

ChatGPT and similar AI tools are seemingly on the same trajectory. At least one company, for example, is already offering a $300,000 salary for a prompt writer role. Opportunity indeed.

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