Dr Chris Galloway recently ran an experiment by asking ChatGPT to provide a sermon on the Lord’s Prayer.
Within seconds, the Massey University professor had a pretty decent result starting with “dear brothers and sisters” and ending with “amen”. He promptly sent this off to a friend, who works as a church pastor – the suggestion being that AI might even have a role to play in modern religious worship.
But it doesn’t end there.
Speaking on The Front Page podcast, Galloway says there are myriad roles that could be affected by the widespread adoption of this technology.
“The jobs that rely on what you might loosely call copywriting are very vulnerable,” says Galloway.
“If I take my own discipline of public relations, aspects of that could be vulnerable. Anything that requires an initial draft to be written very quickly might take away some of the work that someone who would otherwise produce that content. But this is a very fast-developing picture, so none of us can necessarily say that our own jobs are safe.”
Galloway says he knows of real estate professionals who are already using AI technology to serve up the initial drafts for their listings – and there are many other roles that could also benefit from AI providing that first draft.
The technology is already so good that an earlier version of ChatGPT was able to get a passing score in both law and medical exams, says Galloway.
However, there are still limitations.
“The technology is still not very good at being creative. It’s never good at nuance. It delivers factual information, but if you ask it a question that requires some kind of ethical or moral judgement, it’s unable to give you an answer.”
Despite these rapid advancements in technology, Galloway believes that there will still be a need for a human touch.
“There is still going to be a need for human creativity and for human judgement. I’m personally a fan of what’s called extended AI, where we use AI to extend our capabilities; to supplement and augment them rather than replace them.”
The problem is this space is still moving so fast, it’s difficult to calculate exactly where we could end up.
“Over the next couple of years, we’ll see quite a redefinition of the way work is thought about and implemented as applications involving AI multiply.”
So, what does this mean for the workforce? Are there dangers that major companies are moving too fast? And are we heading for an ethical crisis as AI platforms are built on the biases of their creators?
Listen to the full episode of The Front Page podcast to hear more on this rapidly evolving issue.
The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am.