Amid ChatGPT buzz, Sanjeev Sanyal’s scary prediction for those who learned only ‘jargon and accent’

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APRIL 11, 2023

Eeconomist Sanjeev Sanyal

Noted economist Sanjeev Sanyal on Monday backed the artificial intelligence, calling it “a great social leveller”. “Those who merely invested in learning the right jargon and accent, rather than ideas, will get weeded out,” said Sanyal, who is also the Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. “Why is this a bad thing? If anything, this (is) a great social leveller,” he said while responding to a user who shared a graph which showed higher-paying jobs are more exposed to AI disruption.

The fears of job loss have intensified following the launch of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT has puzzled many for its ability to generate human-like responses to complex questions on a variety of subjects. This has led many to believe that this will eat into many high-paying jobs.

A Twitter user pointed this out recently by sharing a list of the jobs that may be affected the most. However, Sanyal said that if one’s job can be replaced by a language programme, then it should not have been high paying in the first place. “You were just enjoying rent for an expensive education, not for the quality of your ideas. Technology has just abolished a market inefficiency,” he said.

However, Mayur, another user, asked: “Isn’t the enjoyment of rent just pushed upward from the highly paid salaried person to the billionaire who will corner the savings because he has the means to develop/deploy AI??” To this, Sanyal said every technology created its billionaires – there were railroad billionaires, cotton mill billionaires, and so on. “When the losers were low paid, it was called progress; now that it will be the high paid…,” he wrote.

Mayur responded to Sanyal and said he did not think even the low-paid jobs being lost was progress, “but I don’t think turning the job market into some form of Hunger Games is healthy for the society no matter if the market is low or high-end jobs”.

In March, the University of Pennsylvania came out with a working paper which aimed to highlight the general-purpose potential of ChatGPT-like language models and their possible implications for US workers. It said its findings confirmed the hypothesis that these technologies can have pervasive impacts across a wide swath of jobs in the US. “Our analysis indicates that approximately 19% of jobs have at least 50% of their tasks exposed to LLMs (language models),” it said.

UK’s Financial Times recently listed the jobs that could be impacted by AI tools. Among them are genetic counsellors, financial examiners, budget analysts, accountants, auditors, judicial law clerks, and those who teach literature, foreign language, history, law, and sociology.

Karuna Jha, a Twitter user, expressed disappointment over AI’s possible impact on language teachers. She said learning another language had so much more in it than just a vocabulary, and teachers can transmit folklore, cultural aspects, anecdotes, etc. “What a sad way to learn a language from a machine…,” she wrote.

To this, Sanyal said activities that generate some value will more than survive – “so why should that be a concern?”. If anything, he said, freed up from doing the drudgery, human effort can now be directed at the more interesting creative aspects of cultural transmission.


Courtesy/Source: This article originally appeared on BUSINESS TODAY