Workers will probably need to go all in on artificial intelligence.
Companies are looking at ways to implement tools like ChatGPT into their products and workflows.
Employees who are slow to adapt may risk being superseded by more adventurous colleagues.
Anxiety about AI is pretty commonplace right now in tech as workers see their jobs threatened by it and senior industry figures warn of its impact.
But pretty much anyone with a job, beyond just tech, will need to get to grips with AI and its potential.
On Monday, Jensen Huang, the CEO of chip giant Nvidia, suggested workers should find a way to make AI work to their favor. "Everyone is a programmer now. You just have to say something to the computer," he said.
It's a new era of computing where producing high-quality work and code with the support of AI is as simple as writing a few lines of instructions into a text box.
With such tools becoming easier to use and more widely available than ever before, understanding the technology may well no longer be a choice but a necessity — and your next job may depend on it.
ChatGPT shifted priorities for corporates
The release of OpenAI's ChatGPT in November has coincided with a shift in priorities for companies across the board. In the tech sector and beyond, efficiency has fast become the guiding ethos as leaders put AI to use for productivity gains and cost savings.
Here's a recent example. Advertising conglomerate WPP is set to partner with Nvidia to bring generative AI into its workflow to accelerate the speed with which campaigns are put together for clients, per the Financial Times.
That means non-tech workers at the likes of WPP will need to quickly become acquainted with new AI-related capabilities such as prompt engineering — telling an AI tool what they want it to do.
And just take a look at how often CEOs talk about AI right now. An Insider analysis of earnings transcripts in May alone found that around 50 US companies mentioned ChatGPT in their quarterly financial updates.
José Neves, founder and CEO of e-commerce firm Farfetch, noted in an earnings call this month how his "tech teams have been developing several concrete applications of ChatGPT." Others, like Udemy and LegalZoom, specifically talked about ChatGPT's impact on their respective businesses.
The value put on AI-related skills like this is changing quickly too. Prompt engineer jobs can reportedly pay up to $375,000 a year, and don't necessarily require a background in computer science.
Despite this obvious direction of travel, workers aren't necessarily rushing to learn about generative AI as yet.
Figures from the Pew Research Center published this month – based on a survey conducted in March – found that although around six in 10 adults are familiar with ChatGPT in the US, just 14% have tried out the chatbot themselves.
Meanwhile a survey of 3,000 employed Americans by HR software firm Checkr found that 79% of workers are feeling the pressure to learn more about AI tools.
Pew notes that the lack of uptake reflected previous findings about Americans being "more likely to express concerns than excitement" about increased AI use in daily life. That's no surprise given the likes of Elon Musk have warned of AI's potential to pose an existential threat.
But for workers still feeling cautious about getting to grips with AI, it may be worth swallowing those fears. At a time of mass layoffs, it looks like one of the few ways to stay competitive.
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