AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT have made it easier for businesses to automate processes, ushering in a new era of workplace productivity, but leaving many workers anxious about their future employment as a result.
And it's not just clerical roles on the chopping block. As AI models become even more adept at human-like reasoning, even previously ‘safe' jobs including lawyers, coders, and financial analysts are at risk of becoming augmented or replaced altogether, if current trends continue.
But if you're concerned about the future viability of your job, don't hit the panic button just yet. There are a number of practical measures you can take to navigate the uncertainty, including leveraging your soft skills and using AI to your advantage.
Flip the narrative on job-stealing-AI with these simple, expert-led steps below, or read on to learn more about the technology's current impact on the employment landscape.
As the AI Takeover Looms, Which Roles Are The Most Vulnerable?
Technology has been automating jobs since the days of the power loom. However, while the previous industrial revolution revolved around physical labor, AI's enhanced data processing and cognitive abilities make it a threat to a variety of clerical and knowledge-based roles.
To put a number on it, research firm Forrester predicts as many as 2.4 million jobs could be replaced in the US by 2023, but which ones are the most likely to be impacted?
As demonstrated in IBM's recent decision to phase out back-office HR positions, roles at the greatest risk of replacement include administrative jobs like data entry clerks, human resources assistants, and account managers.
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Legal and scientific assistants are also likely to see the nature of their roles change in coming years, according to Forester, while content writers and graphic designers will also face growing competition from AI chatbots.
While OpenAI's powerful GPT-4 technology poses an increasing risk to high-salaried positions like lawyers, engineers, and scientists, it's more likely that AI will be used to augment these roles rather than oust them altogether. But whatever your field or experience level, steps can be taken to mitigate the technology impact, as we explore below.
How to Protect Your Job Against AI in 8 Steps
Worried about AI? Take fate into your own hands with these simple actions.
1. Use AI to your advantage
As the adage goes, if you can't beat them join them. While there are loads of tasks humans can complete better than bots, there's no use competing against tools like ChatGPT when it comes to streamlining basic work processes.
By using AI to carry out basic functions like task scheduling, time management, and data analysis, you'll have more time and energy to focus on human-led tasks. Using the technology smartly will also give you a leg-up over other colleagues with less AI literacy, whilst giving you leverage over your workplace's future AI policy.
“Learn to work alongside AI systems as tools, leveraging their capabilities to enhance productivity and efficiency” Remi Alli, a lawyer from PR firm Elite Exclusivity explains. “Actively seek opportunities to incorporate AI tools into your work processes, which can make your role more essential.”
2. Get proficient with ChatGPT Prompts
A chatbot response is only as good as its input. So, another way to make the most of tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Gemini is by learning to master the art of the prompt.
Generally speaking, there are a number of key factors to bear in mind when crafting your prompt. You should use neutral, objective language to avoid influencing the response with subjective framing. You should also be as specific as possible, add lots of context and examples for the chatbot to replicate, and specify what you aren't looking for in an answer.
“Learn how to create prompts and build a process where you can produce ten times the output in far less time with far less effort. Being able to accomplish the work of multiple people effectively will help you stand out.” – Steven J.Wilson, Financial services marketing consultant
Whether you're using ChatGPT for SEO research or content production, it's also worth looking up tried-and-tested ChatGPT prompt examples so you can best utilize it for your specific industry.
3. Create a custom GPT for your company
OpenAI recently launched the GPT store, enabling users to create and profit from their own custom GPT. Learning the ropes of existing chatbots is one thing, but making a custom GPT for your company will help to make your role even more indispensable by proving to your employer that you're an expert in the field.
Custom GPTs can service businesses in a variety of ways. They could be used as an internal resource center, helping employees get answers to company-focused queries quickly, or could also be used to handle external customer support inquiries. You don't need to be an expert coder to build one, either. The process only takes around 15 minutes from start to finish as long as you follow these simple steps.
4. Become a research pro
There's no denying that ChatGPT is a decent research companion. But with ChatGPT 3.5 only being able to retrieve information up to January 2022, and ChatGPT-4's data cap only expanding to April of last year, the chatbot isn't able to include contemporary data in its responses. AI chatbots are also prone to errors, providing incomplete information, and lacking source information, limiting their use even more.
To remedy these shortcomings it's important to utilize a wide range of channels – from online blogs to academic journals – when conducting research. It's also worth fact-checking the responses you receive from chatbots, to avoid relying on the tools wholeheartedly.
5. Hone your emotional intelligence
No matter how advanced AI gets, it will never be able to replace a human's ability to emphasize and connect on an emotional level. Therefore, one way to gain leverage over AI, and to make yourself an indispensable player in your team, is to hone and develop your emotional intelligence (EI).
“A worker needs to consider, in their specific industry, what can AI not do. Learn and grow into that space. Will AI eventually move into that space? Possibly, so workers will need to regularly change course.” – Bryan Driscoll, lawyer and HR consultant
Workers with high levels of EI are more adept at building strong relationships with colleagues, navigating unpredictable situations, and collaborating efficiently. In fact, a TalentSmart survey revealed that 90% of top performers are found to have high emotional intelligence.
There are lots of ways to demonstrate EI in a workplace context, including responding positively to new initiatives, being flexible with demands, socializing with co-workers outside of working hours, and practicing active listening.
6. Develop your creativity
Another facet where AI falls short is creativity. While chatbots are capable of processing swathes of data and generating complex code at the drop of the hat, AI will never be able to generate an original idea quite like a human.
This drawback is why AI models pose much less of a threat to jobs that hinge on creativity like novelists, choreographers, stylists, and musicians. But it's not just creatives that will be shielded from the takeover. As long as you're able to demonstrate creative processes in your current job, you're going to have an advantage over AI.
“You will not be supplanted by AI in future
generations if you are a creative thinker who is always poised to solve problems, regardless of whether you are an expert in artificial intelligence or not.” – Professor Te Wu, CEO of PMO Advisory
Even if you think you lack a creative streak, there are tons of ways to illustrate this strength to your employer, including brainstorming new ideas, reassessing establishing processes, and being open to innovative thinking.
7. Work on your personal brand
AI can accurately be described as a Jack of all trades, but a master of none. While chatbots are capable of carrying out a seemingly limited array of tasks, they will never be able to replicate the expertise, knowledge, and influence held by industry leaders.
Therefore, one of the best ways to safeguard your position in your current job and beyond is by carving out a specific niche in your field and developing your personal brand. Doing so will improve your competitive advantage in your industry, not just against AI tools, but against other workers vying for similar positions.
You don't need to do this on your own either. Connecting with like-minded people and building a network is an excellent way to solidify your position as an industry leader, and to improve your career's longevity.
8. Diversify your skillset
Finally, for those working in roles at greater risk of automation, now is an excellent time to strengthen your employment advantage by developing new skills.
It's never too late to upskill, and as AI continues to disrupt the job market, adding more strings to your bow is the best way to stay ahead of the curve. Human skills that involve creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving are a great place to start, as they're becoming even more valuable in the age of AI. However, doubling down and improving your digital literacy will also serve you well, and make it easier to adapt to the changing landscape of work.
“AI relies heavily on data as a component. Gain expertise in comprehending, interpreting, and working with data by developing your talents. Data analysis, data visualization, and fundamental statistical understanding are all examples of this.” – Steve Elliot, Owner of Restoration1
Still an AI novice? It doesn't take long to clue yourself up on the developing tech, especially with the right resources. Check out our guide to the best free AI training courses to learn how to use AI to your advantage.