Is ChatGPT going to replace you? Possibly

Niek van der Voort and Max Richardson, co-founders of JedAI Studio, think (depending on your industry) your working days may be numbered.
Alice Cooke
  • ChatGPT (and its many rivals and iterations) are set to change the way we work, socialize and live our lives
  • But it may not be entirely possible to police it. The biggest risks it presents are job losses, but there’s also a huge scope for misuse
  • It has the potential to revolutionize our interactions, the way we learn, and even the way we think

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Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, is pretty excited about ChatGPT

“I have to say, really in the last year, the progress [in AI] has gotten me quite excited,” he told Forbes magazine.

And he’s not alone. In fact, his is one of many in a veritable sea of voices that think ChatGPT and its soon-to-be-many rivals, which at the time of writing already include Bard and Ernie (insert Sesame Street-themed quip here), are going to make quite the splash.

To talk about what exactly these bots are going to change for the likes of you and me, let alone processes, capabilities, and industries the world over, we caught up with Niek van der Voort and Max Richardson, co-founders of JedAI Studio, which essentially helps businesses improve their operational efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

Interesting Engineering: What is your involvement in the world of AI?

Max Richardson: AI was always of interest to us, since its inception. With JedAI Studio our aim is to be at the forefront of AI for businesses, by using the newest AI models to deliver better services to companies. It means we work with organizations to implement AI, in line with their business requirements.

There are lots of exciting startups, but most of the people behind them aren’t even aware of the iceberg of capability and possibility that’s sitting dormant right beneath them, when it comes to AI. 

Niek van der Voort: With JedAI Studios, we're making AI solutions for business. So we look at existing businesses and what they currently offer to their clients. Then we look at how we can make it better with the power of AI. Can we offer something alongside their existing line of services or products? We then work out how we can better deliver services to their customers, and streamline their operations.

IE: How has the introduction of ChatGPT and its ever-increasing number of rivals affected the way you work?

MR: It's broadened our interest, because it opens up so many new use cases for businesses. It's forced us to consider how can we position ourselves to give the best value back to businesses that come to us.

So I think what we're really excited about is ChatGPT being something of a catalyst for innovation, and being the first of a huge number of launches with as-yet-unknown capabilities. I think a lot of businesses are going to want to know what they can use it for and how they can integrate it into their own businesses, and that’s where we come in.

NvdV: It will help us to help businesses create new AI models to serve their customers better. Now, everything becomes much more interesting. More awareness means more ideas, more LEGO to play with, which means more innovation and more development. It’s exciting.

IE: What's the biggest difference you think it's going to make to all of our lives in the next few years?

MR: I think automation is getting this complete new makeover. I think the biggest industry to be disrupted will be customer service. But sales, marketing, customer services, and development content are all going to be disrupted massively by this. 

For the rest of us, the biggest difference this will make to us going forward is that it will threaten or change the way some people will have to work, or are able to work.

Remember when social networks first started to get bigger and bigger? Now you see every company with a dedicated social media manager. I believe every company will eventually either have an AI manager or will use the services of an AI agency like ours, to help them with their AI.

So this is just going to open up a new job position in every single business, similar to the social media industry. 

NvdV: I think it will change the way we all operate — at work, at home, everything. And I am not sure people realize how much is about to change. Which fascinates me. 

IE: What about ChatGPT (and its equivalents) makes you most excited?

MR: I think it's going to encourage this new huge wave of entrepreneurs and innovation. I would liken it to how crypto was in 2016. There was this energy you got when you went to these conferences. I feel like the same thing is happening now with AI and the hype around ChatGPT is demonstrating this. 

And what's exciting about it is that there are actually use cases for it out there, and I think that part's very exciting. It’s going to inspire and empower entrepreneurs to now start building really serious businesses with an underlying protocol and foundation that's superb.

NvdV: The endless possibilities. It could change the way we operate. It could very easily change the way we think, the way we act, and even how we identify ourselves. It’s scarily powerful.

Is ChatGPT going to replace you? Possibly
Niek van der Voort

IE: What do you think the biggest risks with it are or will be?

MR: I'd say the biggest risks with it are job losses. There’s also huge potential for misuse — like governments using AI in bad ways, hackers using it to leverage, say, identity theft, or imposing leverage over many people using chatbots. This could be a big thing. 

And as excited as I am about AI video, I think that holds a lot of potential for misuse. Because, intentionally or unintentionally, it's going to have an impact on how people think. And that's a big one.

NvdV: I think powerful technologies like AI are a double-edged sword. You can do a lot of good with it or a lot of harm. Like in the TV series Black Mirror. And alongside that, I think the communication on the internet will rapidly consist of more and more AI-generated content, which makes you wonder, ‘is it me and a bunch of computers here on the web or am I having meaningful interaction and building lasting connections with human beings?’ 

Because the advertisers will be trying to use AI to make you see what they want you to see, while the AI learns from you and feeds you increasingly tailored marketing content, which could end up feeling like a virtual web of smoke and mirrors.  

Also, AI sometimes tells you things that are factually not true, which they call ‘hallucinating.’ But if you assume that everything AI tells you is true, you could easily jump to conclusions that will not help you progress, in fact, they’ll hinder your understanding. 

IE: Is it going to be possible to police these bots?

MR: Students are already using ChatGPT to create essays, and as fast as you create ways to block or trace that, they will create ways to avoid your tracing. It will be impossible to know whether the students have written their work themselves. 

But originally there was no concept – let alone policing of – cyberbullying, and I wouldn’t say we’ve got a real handle on that yet, so I think the honest answer is that this is going to be really tricky to police.

NvdV: It depends on who is doing the policing…For example, will AI do the policing? It will be possible, but will the people with the capability to do that, give that power to the ‘right’ people is the question. Who even are the right people? The police? The government? Who should be in charge of it and how are they going to make sure they’re ahead of the developers? They can’t really… This cat-and-mouse game could quite quickly get out of hand.

IE: Do you think ChatGPT could democratize the research process?

MR: I think, yes. Which gives rise to the question… if doctors are just encyclopedias telling you what to do based on symptoms, could they be replaced as well? And the same question could apply to research. In both cases, the use of AI will enhance and speed up the diagnosis time and research process, however, an expert opinion will still be needed to interpret and process the information.   

NvdV: Yes, very much. Yes, and I would even throw in a bit of web3 and decentralized science to this question too, to add some flavor. Currently, there's a lot of bureaucracy and politics around research, especially in universities, and things go very slowly. This could radically change that. 

The fundamentals of the research process are, in my view, very siloed at the moment. With the democratization of research, people could work together more easily and even get better access to public funding in an easier way. 

You’ll be able to conduct peer reviews without even knowing who the other person is. We have seen AI coils can act as co-authors too, which has caused some debate. So yeah, I do think that research in general will inevitably be enhanced by AI. 

IE: Which industries, in particular, do you think need to worry about the future stability of their jobs?

MR: Everyone assumed that the low-end jobs were going to be taken first, but potentially, people in creative jobs like doctors and lawyers… If you're just a human with a lot of information in your head, that's not useful anymore.

If an AI can come and replace you, that’s not great. But my prediction would be that instead of doctors being necessarily replaced, doctors will be working with AI to enhance their existing capabilities.

NvdV: Content producers. Certain programming jobs. Interaction with customers, such as customer support. 

Is ChatGPT going to replace you? Possibly
Max Richardson


Quickfire questions

Who or what inspires you?

MR: I think the rates of progress with AI in the last year

NvdV: With the current rate of innovation this kind of changes every week. I like the profound ramblings of Alan Watts. Also the work of Pieter Levels – he’s a rapid prototyper who builds concepts pretty fast and I think he’s an amazing person to learn from.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

MR: Creativity and corporate pitching.

NvdV: The excitement of seeing what new things have hit the market every morning. 

What makes you smile?

MR: I would say, seeing, seeing applications for technology being used in creative ways to make the world a better place.

NvdV: The sun.

What annoys you?

MR: Elon Musk haters.

NvdV: I have more wrinkles than I thought I had.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

MR: I've just started bullet journaling. And I feel like my life is completely changing as a result. So I think that's my greatest achievement because I think it's going to create more achievements.

NvdV: I would say building innovation labs in the public sector that solve real-world problems.

What is your biggest regret?

MR: Not looking into learning about AI sooner.

NvdV: Not learning to program earlier in my life.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

MR: Read more books.

NvdV: Become a morning person earlier.

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