People’s lives and rhythms are affected by digitalization and intelligence in the digital era, and artificial intelligence technology penetrates people’s daily lives in a comprehensive way due to its super analog and humanoid benefits. With the development of artificial intelligence technology in recent years, many industries have integrated artificial intelligence technology in practical applications, gradually changing from the original “Internet +” to the current “AI+”. The popularity of the application of artificial intelligence in various industries also has a great impact on ordinary people. For example, we routinely utilize face applications, intelligent voice navigation, intelligent customer service, and so on, which are all made possible by artificial intelligence technology. In fact, in addition to these applications we can access, artificial intelligence technology is also widely applied in some other professional fields, such as transportation, medicine, national defense, home furnishing, manufacturing, and other industries that have been very mature in the application of artificial intelligence technology.
The evolution of AI
Back in 1950, Alan Turing who is the father of the computer, put forward a classic hypothesis, “Can a machine think?” (Oppy & Dowe, 2021). His vision of the development of anthropomorphic machines set the stage for computer science for the next hundred years. Dartmouth College held the first artificial intelligence seminar in the history of the United States in the summer of 1956, which is regarded as the beginning of artificial intelligence technology and began the long-term exploration of human beings committed to exploring the imitation, learning, and surpassing of human beings by machines. (Veisdal, 2023).
In 2016, AlphaGo defeated nine-dan Go player Lee Se-dol. This let human beings see the huge development potential of artificial intelligence, but also inspired the exploration and exploration of artificial intelligence technology. With the continuous development of artificial intelligence, it has been widely applied in the fields of organization and management, machinery manufacturing, medical health, transportation, and so on. It has not only promoted great changes in other fields of science and technology, but also profoundly affected the way of organizing economic activities, reformed people’s way of life, promoted social progress, and demonstrated the infinite possibilities of production and life comprehensively enabled by technology.
At the end of 2022, ChatGPT, an AI developed by OPEAN AI Company was released. This AI product with super ability became popular all over the world, triggering worldwide attention and discussion on its advantages and disadvantages.
The Age of Intelligence: ChatGPT
Artificial intelligence chatbot is not a new term. With the development of intelligent technology, such as Microsoft Xiaobing, Apple Siri, Xiaoai classmate, etc., they have long been familiar products in digital life, and bring obvious convenience to social life. The great advantage of AI is accuracy and speed. Just like building a machine, once AI has mastered the method of a job, it can proceed with it accurately and quickly. It can run for 24 hours, and work tirelessly. Simply put, productivity will increase dramatically. In addition, AI has advantages over mere machines. AI is more than just a set of assignments. It can be flexible even if necessary assignments change.
They can also accomplish sophisticated tasks that humans find challenging, and positions in knowledge-intensive industries are no exception. The Automatic AD copy-generating AI, for example, collects and analyses product information, previous AD copies, news, and social networking sites to generate 100 copy solutions in an instant in response to a customer request. In Europe and the United States, the results showed that the ads produced by AI performed better than those produced by the companies that produced the ads. Because AI can come up with a lot of ideas and produce more effective results (Burr, 2023).
ChatGPT is one such AI. Compared with previous intelligent chatbots, it has more anthropomorphic, real, and accurate understanding and language abilities. If other intelligent chatbots are just simple porters of existing data, ChatGPT has efficient information integration, translation, and circulation ability, and can realize multi-angle processing and summary of answers based on integrating existing data. Its clear, logical, and considerate answers are of important reference value. It also contains enormous potential. It can whip out press releases, draw pictures, produce audio, answer questions, search for information, and even write long research papers, all tasks far faster than humans can.
In modern society, the division of labor is meticulous, and specialization has become an important mode and feature of production. In real life, it is difficult for a painter to be a writer; A physicist can hardly be a philosopher; A singer is hardly a painter, and so on. Artificial intelligence content production has the function of multi-mode production. ChatGPT can generate content across modes and efficiently transform text, video, and audio. It can be said that it combines the ability of a writer, artist, and director. As a natural language processing tool powered by artificial intelligence technology, it can not only conduct conversation by learning and comprehending human language, but it can also carry out meaningful interaction based on the context of the chat, allowing it to truly conduct chat communication like humans.
ChatGPT has taken the world by storm since its launch. It has captured a wide consumer market and user audience by the convenience that anyone can apply at any time. It has attracted more than 1 million users in just five days and over 100 million monthly active users in two months (Agomuoh & Larsen, 2023). The reason for this is that ChatGPT has both conversation and content production, and the two functions are integrated. There are also forces and reactions similar to human interaction between humans and chatbots. Chatbots created by humans can react to humans with their “thoughts” and to society with their production content.
Concerns about artificial intelligence
Beyond that, ChatGPT raises a host of concerns. The emergence of artificial intelligence brings concerns to human society and even human beings as a biological group in all aspects. Prominent figures such as Stephen Hawking have pointed out on various occasions over the past decade: due to its slow biological evolution system, humans cannot compete with artificial intelligence which may result in an eventual replacement.
The advent of ChatGPT technology has intensified the heated discussion and pessimism about the “substitution theory”. Traditional robots may only replace manual labor while the emerging new technologies in the era of artificial intelligence will not only replace manual labor, but also eliminate and replace human mental labor, which will completely overturn the quality, quantity, and structure of human labor force, resulting in a more absolute, long-term and unrecoverable unemployment state. Under such an impact, whether the overall labor force can be kept sustainable, both physical and mental workers are very concerned. Both ChatGPT and other technologies that are likely to evolve require deeper thinking and attention.
“Quality” of Labor Force in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
ChatGPT has a massive database, and artificial intelligence algorithms can quickly capture and integrate information. Furthermore, the user’s access to content is not restricted because ChatGPT’s massive computational capacity can easily and quickly acquire significant volumes of knowledge. (Agomuoh & Larsen, 2023). Therefore, from the perspective of individuals, in the face of the threat of employment substitution and unemployment, the replacement of jobs, the reduction of hours, and the reduction of income will affect the means of subsistence needed to maintain their normal living conditions, which threaten the physical and mental health of workers, and wipe out the path of self-esteem and self-realization of some workers through work.
When low-skill positions are highly substitutable and lack employment security, there may be a race to the bottom of labor income, unreasonable control of capital and technology over labor positions, and even exploitation of workers to earn higher profits, forming a “vicious circle” that threatens the survival of the labor force. Secondly, the above reasons lead to a significant increase in the pressure of work and life of individual labor, and the cost of investment in the education of the next generation, the cost of professional selection and the comprehensive cost of training have greatly increased, resulting in a sharp rise in the means of living needed to breed offspring. Third, the cost of upgrading labor literacy and skills will increase dramatically as new technologies change more frequently and more dramatically.
The “quantity” of labor Force in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
From the perspective of “quantity”, a large number of modern industrial technical talents who are guided by science and technology and possess algorithm theory and intelligent technology are needed to serve as the intellectual foundation for economic, social, and industrial development. This is because the popularisation and application of the new generation of technology represented by ChatGPT put higher requirements on the education, quality, and ability of workers. Low – and medium-skilled workers, who make up a large portion of the labor force, will face a shift to non-mechanical manual jobs, such as food delivery workers and ride-hailing drivers, which may also be out of demand as drone delivery and autonomous driving technology advances. Simple tasks that can be modeled and repeated are likely to be replaced by AI because the tasks that AI can do more accurately and quickly are more efficient than hiring people, so humans will still be at a disadvantage.
This fact does not change even in occupations that require high skills, knowledge, and qualifications to do the job. It also creates a shrinking demand for Labour and a huge structural gap between supply and demand. In fact, since Keynes, many economists began to pay attention to the problem of unemployment caused by technological progress. In 2013, Oxford University academics Frey and Osborne (2013) analyzed the potential impact of AI on employment. In their study, 47% of jobs in the US will be affected by AI within 20 years, which means tens of millions of jobs will be lost. And ChatGPT proves it. Recently, several OpenAI researchers Eloundou (2023) et al. published a paper pointing out that about 80% of the American labor force may have at least 10% of their work tasks affected by GPT and other large AI models, and about 19% of the labor force may have at least 50% of their work tasks affected.
ChatGPT’s functional value as an AI system needs no elaboration. However, it still needs to be addressed if it has value creation and value generation in the original sense. After all, hidden behind the complex appearance of labor value creation and distribution in the age of intelligence is always the nature of artificial intelligence as labor materials and subject to the “human world”, which determines that no matter what kind of social form labor obtains in the age of intelligence, it cannot be separated from the law that concrete labor creates use value and abstract labor creates value. Sam(2023), founder of ChatGPT’s parent company Open AI, noted in a recent open letter.
“We can imagine a world in which humanity flourishes to a degree that is probably impossible for any of us to fully visualize yet. We hope to contribute to the world an AGI aligned with such flourishing.“
Such statements of ambition go hand in hand with concerns. But there is no denying that ChatGPT is changing the way of life and production in the world and the evolution of human intelligence. This change in the field of value generation is that general artificial intelligence will further liberate human “Head-labor”.
In conclusion, while expecting AI to improve people’s well-being and social progress, we should neither be blindly optimistic nor overly pessimistic. We should make objective and reasonable thinking, design scientific and effective policy responses, maintain a sustainable labor force, and promote high-quality development from a people-oriented perspective. It probably doesn’t matter whether ChatGPT is a renewal of humanity’s “ontological upgrade” as a transcendent “subject” of digital labor, or just another dream burst of strong artificial intelligence. Thinking about ChatGPT as a possible “subject” of digital labor is not to play up some kind of intelligence myth or lament, nor is it to imagine the final result of labor substitution and subversion, but the evolution of human intelligence will eventually have some “identification”, and this “identification” must also be towards the forefront of human science and technology itself.
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