NEW YORK -- There's been a lot of discussion and fear about AI taking jobs from people as more companies roll out the technology, but the real story might be how people will need to adapt to changing roles as they work alongside machines.
In an interview at the O'Reilly AI Conference last month in New York, Drew Silverstein, co-founder and CEO at AI music-generation service Amper Music, said he sees some disruption coming from AI adoption in the music industry, but mostly for people who turn out basic, unimaginative work.
"If you write really bad music, we're going to challenge you to do better," he said. "If you want to be a creative artist, be an artist. We still have painters, even in the age of Photoshop."
People at the lower end of the employment spectrum in the music industry will have to focus more on creative work, rather than thinking they can get by on less imaginative commercial work. Silverstein said humans are particularly good at being creative, while machines excel more at rote tasks. As AI algorithms improve, they will be able to write basic commercial music. People will have to be more creative.
"Moving forward, [technological change] is unstoppable," Silverstein said. "The question is when, how quickly."
In the financial services industry, increasing adoption of AI will mean that workers will have to develop stronger relationship-building skills, according to Doug Kim, chief revenue and customer success officer at software company Cogito Corp. In a panel discussion at the conference, he said AI taking jobs may happen for basic tasks, much like ATMs filled in for human tellers for the basics of deposits and withdrawals back in the 1990s. But this will open up new opportunities for people.
For example, in areas like money management, people want to have a relationship with their broker, Kim said. So increasing adoption of AI could be an opportunity, rather than a threat, for workers with strong interpersonal skills to cement their careers and move up in an organization.
"The future role of workers in financial services has to be centered around developing a more meaningful relationship with customers," Kim said. "People have to develop greater emotional intelligence because that's where I think organizations will differentiate."
And there's opportunity for those who learn to use AI in the course of their work. In a presentation at the conference, Codruta Gamulea, commercial lead for an AI-as-a-service offering at the Norway company Bakken & Baeck, talked about how reporters are increasingly embracing AI tools after initially viewing them as a threat to their jobs.
Bakken & Baeck works with news organizations around the world, but primarily in Scandinavia, to help implement AI software. She said journalists initially viewed AI as a threat, having heard stories about how organizations like the Associated Press were starting to use AI to write stories. But now reporters are using AI to do things like tag stories by topic area, moderate comment sections of online articles or assist in research.
She described this as grunt work that reporters typically dislike. Rather than worrying about AI taking jobs, using the technology is actually freeing reporters up to do more interesting work. Reporters who excel at using AI to create better, deeper work will find the most job opportunities going forward. "There's a wealth of use cases and enthusiasm in newsrooms is growing," Gamulea said.
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