- Artificial intelligence is altering the workforce in unpredictable ways.
- While companies and workers are beginning to embrace AI, some worry about its risks.
- Here are 10 ways AI tools such as ChatGPT have entered the workplace — and what may come out of it.
- This story is part of “How Emerging Tech is Changing Everything,” a series exploring the transformative impact of tech innovations across industries.
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Artificial intelligence is already changing the workplace in ways we never could’ve imagined.
Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, its conversational AI chatbot, in November, many have used it to lose weight, plan vacations, and even land dates.
Now, some companies are embracing AI — though not without precaution — as business leaders begin to wake up to the technology’s impressive capabilities. In a 2023 IBM study surveying 3000 executives on generative AI, 75% of respondents said it would give their businesses a competitive edge and 43% are using AI to make strategic business decisions.
But not all workers are ready to use AI. In the IBM study, 57% of the executives said they had reservations about data security, while 48% said they were also concerned about bias.
Nevertheless, workers and companies are starting to deploy AI for business purposes in myriad ways.
Here are 10 ways AI is changing the workforce:
1. Workers are using ChatGPT to help do their jobs
Workers across industries — from education to law — are using AI technology such as ChatGPT to automate their workflows to save time and boost productivity.
Nick Patrick, the owner of the music-production company Primal Sounds Productions, told Insider he used ChatGPT to fine-tune legal contracts for clients. Shannon Ahern, a high-school math and science teacher, said she used the AI chatbot to generate quiz questions and lesson plans.
Others have used the chatbot to write listings for luxury real estate, assist in recruiting efforts, draft social-media posts, and develop code.
In fact, many workers are even secretly using AI to help do their jobs.
At the beginning of the year, Fishbowl, a workplace-discussion app, surveyed more than 11,700 workers, including those from companies such as Amazon, Google, Meta, and Twitter, to gauge whether they used AI at work. Out of the 43% of respondents who said they used AI to accomplish their work tasks, 68% of them said they hadn’t told their bosses they were using them.
2. Companies are looking for ChatGPT expertise in their workers
Companies across various industries — including healthcare, education, and insurance — are looking to hire workers with experience using AI.
As of June, more than a dozen of companies were hiring workers on sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn with ChatGPT expertise listed in their job postings, paying as much as $800,000 a year for the skill. Executives at these companies told Insider that job candidates with knowledge of AI might be more productive, creative, and open to change than those without AI expertise.
The move to hire AI-savvy workers seems to be gaining traction. In a recent survey from the job site Resume Builder of business leaders who were hiring, 91% of respondents said they wanted to bring on workers who knew how to use OpenAI’s chatbot to save time and enhance productivity.
3. Employers are encouraging workers to learn how to use AI
Executives are asking their workers to integrate AI into their workflows. That way, companies can save time and money on their business processes.
Jensen Huang, the CEO of the chip giant Nvidia, said workers should learn how to use AI to improve their performance.
“Everyone is a programmer now,” Huang said during this year’s Computex conference in Taipei, Taiwan. “You just have to say something to the computer.”
Akash Nigam, the CEO and founder of Genies, an avatar-tools company, previously told Insider he purchased ChatGPT Plus accounts for all of his 120 employees and encouraged them to make learning the AI chatbot a priority so they could “effectively accelerate” their departments.
“You really got to find time to, like, learn this skill,” Nigam previously told Insider.
4. Job applicants are using AI to write their résumés and improve their applications
AI can help you land your next gig by improving your job application.
To test his company’s recruiting efforts, Neil Taylor, the founder of Schwa, a communications consultancy, said that he secretly submitted a job application written by ChatGPT to recruiters at his firm and later learned that ChatGPT was one of the few applicants chosen for an interview.
“It was more competent than a lot of the bad people who apply to us,” Taylor told Sky News.
Insider’s Beatrice Nolan conducted a similar experiment, in which she asked ChatGPT to write cover letters for real jobs and sent the letters to hiring managers for them to review. The managers told Nolan they would’ve offered her an interview even though they said the letters lacked personality.
AI enthusiasts have also expressed on social media how impressed they are with ChatGPT’s ability to write cover letters, resurfacing a long-held debate on whether cover letters should be removed from the job-application process.
5. AI is being used to make hiring decisions
AI-assisted hiring is nothing new.
For years, companies have used AI tools to screen résumés and cover letters, interview job candidates, and even analyze the speech and facial expressions of applicants to get a read on their personalities — processes that experts say might not be fair when making hiring decisions.
But some human-resources professionals say that generative-AI tools have helped them do their jobs better. Jasmine Cheng, a recruiter who left Amazon to start her own recruiting firm called Topknack, said she used ChatGPT to do things such as finding job candidates and creating interview questions, which she said saved her at least 10 hours a week.
“With those hours back, I can reach more candidates, network, and even conduct more business development to get more clients, which leads to making more money,” Cheng previously told Insider.
6. Companies are using AI to write their performance reviews
Managers may find writing performance reviews for their employees a tough task. But what if AI could do it for you?
Companies behind HR-management software are starting to integrate AI features that can help managers write performance reviews that are fair, accurate, and personalized for their direct reports.
For instance, Textio, an HR-management tool with an AI-assistant feature for performance reviews, is used by companies such as Hulu, Spotify, T-Mobile, and McDonald’s, WorkLife reported.
AI-generated performance reviews are nothing new. In 2018, the cloud giant Oracle launched Digital Assistant, an AI chatbot that HR professionals can use to complete employee evaluations.
AI expertise may also be taken into consideration during a performance review. Nigam, the CEO of the avatar-tools company, expects to make decisions on who gets promoted based on how well they know ChatGPT, he told Insider.
7. Experts say AI could help make the 4-day workweek possible
A four-day workweek may be on the horizon thanks to ChatGPT.
AI tools can help workers be more productive, which, in turn, cuts down the time it takes to accomplish any given task — a “necessary condition for us to work less,” Oded Netzer, a professor at Columbia Business School, previously told Insider.
Carl Benedikt Frey, an Oxford economist, echoed the sentiment. He told Insider: “Any technology that increases productivity, ChatGPT included, makes a shorter workweek more feasible.”
But some experts say that AI’s prospective productivity gains may not shorten the workweek. Michael Chu, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, previously told Insider that employers might expect employees to work even harder to maximize their output because of AI.
8. Companies are restricting their employees from using AI at work
Some companies have set rules around how their employees can use AI in the workplace, in part, to protect their confidential data from being leaked.
While firms such as Apple and Spotify have been said to restrict their workers from using AI, other companies, such as JPMorgan and Northrop Grumman, appear to have outright barred their employees from using the tech.
“Although AI, including ChatGPT and other ‘conversational’ AIs, can be enormously helpful and truly transformative, we want to be smart about how we implement these tools to protect ourselves, our partners, our company’s information and our user data,” executives at iHeartMedia wrote in a June memo explaining why it’s restricting its workers from using AI.
9. Many are questioning whether AI will replace their jobs
As AI becomes more advanced, many workers may be wondering whether the tech will replace their jobs down the line.
A recent Goldman Sachs report on the state of AI found that generative-AI tools could lead to a “significant disruption” in the labor market and affect 300 million full-time jobs worldwide. White-collar workers — particularly people in law and those part of an administrative staff — are most likely to be affected by new AI tools, Goldman found.
Other labor experts told Insider that workers in media, marketing, and finance — jobs that require writing and number crunching — were at risk of replacement by AI.
AI job replacement may already be occurring. Suumit Shah, the CEO of the e-commerce platform Dukaan, tweeted earlier this month that “we had to layoff 90% of our support team” because an AI chatbot was able to do its work faster.
But not all experts believe AI will wipe out jobs.
Anu Madgavkar, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, told Insider that AI should be viewed as an imperfect productivity-enhancing tool that could produce bias and error. Richard Baldwin, an economist, said at the 2023 World Economic Forum’s Growth Summit that while AI might not replace your job, workers who know how to use AI may replace those who don’t.
10. Workers are striking against the use of AI
While some workers seek to embrace AI in their roles, others are speaking out against the ways the technology can harm workers.
For the past three months, thousands of Hollywood writers in the Writers Guild of America have been on strike, in part, to express their concerns over the potential for AI to replace their jobs. Now actors from the SAG-AFTRA guild have joined the strike, urging studios to be extra careful with how they use AI.
“Artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to creative professions, and all actors and performers deserve contract language that protects them from having their identity and talent exploited without consent and pay,” Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, said during a press conference this month.
Journalists are also pushing back against the use of AI in newsrooms. In late June, the GMG Union of G/O Media — the company behind sites such as Gizmodo and Jezebel — released a statement pleading with the parent company to put the brakes on experimenting with AI-generated content.
“We urge G/O Media to cease its plans to litter our sites with AI-generated content and invest in real journalism done by real journalists,” the letter said.