Think AI Is Coming for Your Job? Not So Fast...

Nothing beats the real thing...

Posted October 24, 2022

AI has been a hot topic these last few months ever since Elon Musk revealed his Tesla Optimus bot that he says will usher in a “fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.”

Musk believes that at the foundation of every economy is labor, so if AI is able to replace or help bolster the labor market, it could create a boon for the economy like we’ve never seen before.

In a press conference last year, he said, “In the future, physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it, you can, but you won’t need to do it.”

It’s got engineers, journalists, and investors alike wondering where AI fits into the economy and what role it’s going to play in our daily lives.

AI has the potential to eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks, freeing up human capital in the workplace.

This means factory laborers, construction workers, artists, musicians, and even writers could be out of a job by as soon as 2030, according to predictions from McKinsey and the Brookings Institution.

But can AI really replace human jobs?

This question sent me down the AI rabbit hole, and what I found is that AI is just not that advanced.

But it's not going away, and as it gets more advanced, it'll get harder to distinguish human work from robot work.

Here’s what I mean.

Writer’s Block

Robert Langdon awoke slowly.

A telephone was ringing in the darkness — a tinny, unfamiliar ring. He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on. Squinting at his surroundings, he saw a plush Renaissance bedroom with Louis XVI furniture, hand-frescoed walls, and a colossal mahogany four-poster bed.

“Where the hell am I?”

The jacquard bathrobe hanging on his bedpost bore the monogram: HOTEL RITZ, PARIS.

Slowly, the fog began to lift.

Langdon picked up the receiver, “Hello?”

“Dr. Langdon, would you be interested in playing chess at Les Ritz Cafe in one hour?” It was a woman's voice, possibly British. “Please confirm acceptance of the invitation.”

“Who is this?” Langdon asked, irritably.

“Arnaud Bellamy,” she said, dropping formalities.

His heart sank. It was a trap.

Believe it or not, that intro was written by AI-powered writing software Sudowrite.

Pretty good, right?

I had to fix some grammatical errors, but hey, even AI isn't perfect.

Software like Sudowrite and ShortlyAI aim to create content on the fly and help writers get out of a rut, to defeat the dreaded writer’s block.

If you’re looking for a fresh take on a topic, all you do is enter a prompt and, like magic, the AI scours the internet for corresponding words and topics and taps something out.

I gave Sudowrite a prompt for investing in AI and here’s what it wrote:

Men in suits sit in an office discussing the stock report, their faces showing emotions ranging from anger to hope, fear to confusion.

The futuristic office building is jutting out of the ground, surrounded by all the latest tech.

A distant ring of lights, a view of the future, the beginning of a new age.

There are long-term, long-eared men in a room, yellow as butter, who listen to the amnesiac angels of profit. They are very careful in their investment in AI.

As you can see, the limitations of this writing AI are quite obvious.

It’s good at coming up with a disjointed story but not so good at subtly connecting the dots and writing to the audience.

But it’s a good start, and it will no doubt only get better and more complex with time.

For now, AI won’t completely replace writers, but artists might be first on the chopping block.

These Belong in the Louvre

Early last year, AI-powered art generator DALL-E was released to a small group of beta testers.

Once users started sharing the images that the AI created, the company got inundated with requests to use the website.

All you do is type in a prompt and, voilà, you've got a brand-new piece of art.

A pixelated unicorn riding a rocket ship made of whipped cream?

Check.

unicorn

A hound dog drinking coffee?

Easy.

hounddog

The detail and clarity of this one blows me away.

DALL-E is now open to the public and free to use, so I suggest you try it out for yourself.

But unlike a human artist, you can’t specifically guide the AI to draw what’s in your head.

It’s still a bit random.

So artists are still safe... for now.

What about musicians?

Take It for a Loop

AI has actually been around in the music scene for decades, specifically for the drums.

According to MusicTech, drum machines predate the modern drum set by more than 800 years:

In his The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, written in 1206 in what is now modern Turkey, engineer Ismail al-Jazari described a device consisting of four automaton musicians, two of which were drummers whose rhythms and patterns could be programmed by moving pegs within the mechanism. This was eventually built and used for entertaining the Sultan’s guests at parties.

Another prototype drum machine, the Rhythmicon, was invented in 1930 and consisted of spinning disks activated by piano keys that created a rhythmic, drum-like sound.

Today, in modern music, drum machines and drum loops are everywhere.

You’d be surprised how many top-40 hits use drum machines.

Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me,” Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” and Don Henley's “Boys of Summer,” to name a few.

But drum machines haven’t replaced real drummers by any stretch of the imagination, and professional studio drummers remain some of the highest-paid musicians in the world.

It’s safe to say that in the professional working environment, nothing beats the real thing.

If anything, we’ll work alongside AI and the human worker will become even more valuable.

Getting Better All the Time

So why is Elon Musk freaking out over AI?

Talking about AI at a 2014 MIT conference, Musk told students, “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”

And in a 2017 meeting of the National Governors Association — a public policy liaison between the state and federal government — Musk said the scariest problem right now is AI, which poses fundamental, existential risks to civilization.

After seeing the Tesla Optimus bot, it's clear there's still a very long way to go before AI takes over.

And as this industry is still in its infant stage, it means the time to invest is now.

What we've found is that AI robots use this advanced sensor technology to function properly.

It might be the only AI investment you need.

Stay free,

Alexander Boulden
Editor, Outsider Club

After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing. Check out his editor's page here.

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