Instant essays, virtual chess opponents, evil computers trying to steal your jobs. The recent rapid evolution of AI technology has the potential to reshape almost every aspect of our lives, and has sparked heavy controversy concerning its role in our society. As AI gains data and intelligence, a future in which it controls menial labors, and even entire job positions, grows ever closer. As artificial intelligence continues to advance change is inevitable, as well as imperative for any progress, but for some it may not be readily welcome.
Since the release of ChatGPT on Nov. 30, 2022, AI has been brought to the forefront of public attention as it has incorporated itself into many day-to-day activities. Many students already find themselves interacting with it on a daily basis, from playing against ChessGPT in a newfound online chess craze, to enlisting AI in homework help.
“This is a super important moment in technology evolution,” Masuk teacher Mari O’Rourke stated. “This is the first time that we have viable generalized AI, and it means that everything from now on is going to evolve very quickly in terms of computing power.”
AI technology has evolved at an exponential rate, and will only continue to do so, giving widely integrated AI programs, such as ChatGPT, the potential to effectively streamline the majority of jobs.
Professions such as accounting, data analysis, software engineering and more could be transformed by the addition of this new computing power. Tedious tasks may soon be assumed by artificial intelligence, both aiding and expediting work.
However, given enough time, the standard question may transition from “what jobs can AI do?” to “what jobs can’t AI do?”, leaving humans to fill in those gaps.
“I think it is interesting to see how advanced AI tech can become, but I also believe it could negatively impact some people in fields like computer science, as it can probably take the role of what some people do for their jobs,” commented junior Chris Dunn.
Many people have very real concerns about AI filling job positions that would have at one point been offered to real people. The stunning efficiency of AI programs, and the fact that they do not require an hourly wage, make AI an enticing employee.
However, in the near future it is unlikely that AI will be capable of guiding itself through compound tasks. It will likely instead act as a complex database or compiler, an extension of a person’s brain that has all the answers but only when the right questions are asked.
“I want to go into computer science so it’s a bit frightening to see that [AI] knows how to code and my career can be at risk, but I’m not super worried because it’s the same as simply going to google and finding help. If anything, it could make my life easier,” remarked junior Ashwin Sarma. “Rather than be scared of the changes that may arise, I think we should learn to adapt to them and benefit from them.”
The debate over AI boils down to how people can use its skills responsibly. AI is not inherently dangerous, nor is it actively trying to steal your jobs or livelihood. It is a tool, and a powerful one, that, if used correctly, can vastly improve our quality of work and life. If left unchecked, artificial intelligence does have the potential to entirely upheave our lives, but with due caution the transition into the age of AI can be a smooth and lucrative one.
“I think if it is used appropriately, [there will be] minimal change in daily life and the workforce, because it is a tool and should be used as a tool, no different than a calculator in your math class,” added CTE teacher William McDonough. “If we approach using it that way in your classes and your instruction, then we’re just adding one more piece of technology that you can use to help do your job, not replace doing your job.”
Anything can be beneficial in moderation, and with proper regulation and care, AI can be widely implemented without extreme changes to the livelihoods of the people. And as AI continues to evolve, the mindset of the public must grow to match it.