Once Upon a Time…
Before writing was invented, the world was very different from what it is today. Everything that needed to be known had to be committed to memory. Humanity needed to remember stuff or else crucial knowledge would be lost. Perhaps, that is how poetry and music were born because people needed a flowery language that was easy to remember. Alliteration, rhyme, repetition – all these were helpful tools in the age when memory was the main repository of knowledge.
Having a good memory was considered a great skill, and people learned to commit a lot of information to memory. There were mnemonic tricks that could help one remember almost anything, and these today are used by a group of nerds who participate in the World Memory Championships. Just a preview of what it entails, the 2020 winner, Emma Alam, memorized 410 random words in 15 minutes (and in the correct order).
Then came writing, and the world changed a little. However, it was not until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press that books became a household thing and no one needed to remember anything. Within a short time, the need to remember so much information became useless. The age of books had come.
Learning from History
Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. (Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.)
A long time ago there was a profession called copy typist. It still exists today, but it has seen better days, and possibly you do not know any career copy typist. When word processors came, everybody got the freedom to work on their own documents and their career came to a sudden end.
Same with Human Computers. If you have watched the movie or read the book Hidden Figures, you know there was a profession called computers, who were disrupted by the actual electronic computers that we know. These were people who performed mathematical calculations and would undertake complex and tedious calculations, and we see them in the movie Hidden Figures where Katherine Johnson’s work is crucial in the first American orbital spaceflight.
Today we do not have human computers as a day-to-day profession, and no one seems to care. Such a beautiful profession is no more, and the world has moved on.
The End of ………. (Insert Career)
Professions come to an end.
I do not know the day or the hour. But as sure as the sun rises, some careers will go the way of calculators, courtesy of Artificial Intelligence. It is a matter of when not if.
Which jobs will go away? I can speculatively name a few, but that is not important, neither is it the point.
As someone once said, “Technology will not replace people, but people who use technology will replace people who don’t.” This is the same case with ChatGPT and other forms of Artificial Intelligence. If ChatGPT will replace some lawyers, it will replace them with lawyers who use ChatGPT. That is why as a lawyer you need to keep up with the technology (AI) that can make you more efficient.
What should I do if my job is threatened by AI? While it still lasts, the best advice I have is this.
Keep riding on the available opportunities. As you do that, learn to leverage the opportunity that AI provides. Be adaptable, and use AI to your advantage.
And while you are still here, a book I am currently reading, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, could be a good starting point to understand what the future of AI looks like.