- Gary Vaynerchuk predicts that AI software like ChatGPT will eliminate many jobs.
- He’s optimistic about workers’ ability to rally and adapt to AI, or create new roles.
- That’s been true to an extent about previous types of automation, but AI looks likely to impact a broader demographic of workers.
The entrepreneur and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t panicking over the quick rise of AI technology like ChatGPT — in fact, he welcomes the change.
Vaynerchuk, an early investor in companies like Facebook and Uber, posted a video on TikTok this week encouraging others to embrace the disruptions the chatbots might bring, even as many speculate that AI will bring upheaval to some industries. Anxieties about current widespread layoffs in the tech industry aren’t helping, with the added irony that AI sometimes helps employers make decisions about who gets cut.
“What do I think of AI? I think it’s coming, and it’s coming fast. And it’s going to be awesome,” he said. “Humans have proven to me that they have the ability to adjust to the new reality and deal with it.”
ChatGPT, which produces responses to user prompts that appear as if they’re written by a human being, is only a few months old, but it’s already demonstrated its potential to disrupt several industries. Insider’s Aaron Mok and Jacob Zinkula reported this month that tech, media, teaching, and legal jobs, among others, are “amenable” to AI technologies, as Anu Madgavkar, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, phrased it.
Customer service is another industry that’s getting increasingly automated — one study published last year by the tech research company Gartner projected that chatbots will be the main customer service channel for roughly 25% of companies by 2027.
Bloomberg’s MLIV Pulse survey from early February, which surveys investors, finds that the consensus is that AI tech will eventually replace some jobs in finance, media, and tech, even as most investors didn’t perceive their own jobs as at risk.
On the flip side, many workers are finding that they can use AI tools to enhance their productivity at work: it’s useful for research, analyzing large amounts of data, and scheduling tasks, for instance. On the other side of the employment fence, people have also been using ChatGPT to write cover letters and resumes for them, which one recruiter told Insider is a productive and ethical use of the software.
History says there’s some reason to be optimistic about new technology, but AI is new terrain
Vaynerchuk is optimistic about AI technology — and about workers’ ability to adapt to it, even if their current roles might end up on the chopping block.
“Most people worked on farms back in the day,” he said. “And then a tractor came out. And everyone’s like, ‘fuck that. We’re all out of fucking jobs.’ And then people found new jobs.”
Like Vaynerchuk points out, there’s some reason to be optimistic long-term about the job shake ups technology can cause.
In 2018, for instance, the World Economic Forum projected that although more than 75 million jobs would be lost to automation in the next four years, 133 million would be created.
A report last year from the Brookings Institution said that technology “often creates as many jobs as it destroys over time,” and that the cycle of automation can be good for the economy: people who can work with technology are more productive than their peers, reducing the cost of goods and services, which means people can buy more goods and services. And that leads to the creation of even more new jobs.
But workers directly replaced by the new technology lose out, Harry J. Holzer, a senior fellow at Brookings wrote in that report, adding that digital automation over the last four decades has added to labor market inequality, with production and clerical workers losing their jobs or seeing shrunk wages. And while some new jobs that were created pay more, others pay less.
“AI will increase the challenges many workers will face from automation, while still contributing to higher standards of living due to higher worker productivity,” Holzer said, predicting that AI has greater potential for inequality than previous automation, and can potentially affect college graduates and professionals more than technology changes did in the past. “At the same time, we will need a much more robust set of policy responses to make sure that workers can adapt, so that the benefits of automation are broadly shared.”
But Vaynerchuk is more convinced that AI represents the status quo for automation.
“Do you understand that I gave this same keynote in 1997?” he said. “The analogy I used then was, ‘look, if you’re the top salesman or saleswoman for the Yellow Pages, you might want to consider what Yahoo and Google are doing.'”