I have long struggled with how to brace myself for the age of AI. In the 30 years I have been online, it has always worked out to dabble in the latest and the hottest tech and then go from there.
But with AI, it’s different. It is affecting more industries, more job profiles, at breakneck speed, all at once.
The development of the Internet happened gradually, people had time to absorb innovative services.
AI seems to have developed gradually until the point of «take-off», after which breakthroughs in computing power and generative pre-trained transformers GPT lead to unprecedented advances.
This behavior was predicted in 2015 by American journalist Tim Urban in his epic blog post on AI in Wait But Why. The only thing he didn’t know at the time was that the tipping point would be towards the end of 2022.
Since then, we have been living in the Age of AI. This means that it has become humanly impossible to keep track of all the advances in different fields. They are moving too fast in all sorts of ways.
What’s more, AI researchers and developers don’t understand how deep neural networks and large language models LLMs learn new skills that they weren’t explicitly trained for!
Let that sink in…
Engineers know how to build such systems, but LLM’s inner workings remain a black box.
Hence the concern of many visionaries who are calling for a slowdown in the release of new versions of AI implementations until we know more about the risks and limitations of such powerful tools.
Given AI’s potential to make various job profiles obsolete, we had better prepare our white-collar workforce for the changes to come.
So what should I do as a User?
1. Understand the AI's Uncanny Ability to Know Anything and Everything
If it doesn’t blow your mind when you ask for strategic advice or programming code or legal advice or whatever, then you’re really not asking the right question.
I created the video below using Midjourney images and lipsync from D-ID.
You’ll quickly realize that you no longer need to ask agencies for visual mood boards or Photoshop-style image composites like this post’s header image (created in Midjourney). You can just as easily produce videos, complete with lipsync effects, in minutes, based on a few text prompts.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Websites like there’s an ai for that list thousands of AI tools that solve all sorts of tasks (3,557 AIs for 989 tasks as per April 2023).
NexusGPT lists AI services that replace freelancers of all kinds.
And the next wave of AI tools includes autonomous chatbots, i.e. chatbots that recursively generate their own prompts based on the results of previous steps.
This is massive!
This is the order of magnitude we are dealing with. And the pace of progress is only accelerating!
2. Identify your Exposure to AI
If you make your money with a keyboard, you’re affected in one way or another. If you are reading this, chances are you will feel the heat at some point.
You need to prepare!
3. How to Prepare for the Age of AI
Here’s where the trouble starts: Visionaries like Bill Gates predict that we won’t need programmers by 2028.
So programming these systems may not be an option because they will program themselves.
If that path is not viable, all the simpler data processing tasks will also be done by AI.
If you think your clerical job is repetitive, even if it requires some human oversight, that task will be automated sooner than you think.
So if you’re not ready to move into an AI-safe industry like nursing or trades, what should you do?
Honestly, I don’t know.
The longer I experiment with AI tools, the more effective I become at producing content, but also the more pessimistic I become about our future job market: How will juniors manage to enter the job market when AI is available to perform all kinds of simple and complex tasks?
How will incumbents stay relevant when startups have such powerful tools up their sleeves?
I will leave this chapter open for now. I need more time to think about how to secure a piece of the ever faster changing market.
Please let me know if you can help steelman the case for a working response to AI in the workplace!