AI could kill creative jobs that ‘shouldn’t have been there in the first place,’ OpenAI’s CTO says

The advent of artificial intelligence has caused due concern about job displacement—and nearly every industry stands to be impacted by the nascent technology. Creatives in particular have been shaking in their boots out of fear of losing their livelihoods to programs such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, which is largely used for graphic design. 

And now, the chief technology officer of OpenAI warns that the technology could in fact cause job displacement in the creative industry. She questions, however, whether those jobs really needed to exist. 

“Some creative jobs maybe will go away,” Mira Murati told her alma mater, the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth University, in an interview earlier this month. “But maybe they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.” 

Murati didn’t specifically name the creative jobs, but the comment was made amid discussion about the entertainment industry, which has seen massive backlash from workers. Namely, screenwriters and actors went on strike in 2023 over the use of AI in Hollywood. 

And many freelancers have already started reeling from the impact of AI taking over their work. Since ChatGPT and similar technologies came on the market, the number of freelance jobs posted on Upwork, Fiverr, and related platforms have dropped by as much as 21%, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Murati, however, says she sees AI tools as a means to become more creative, although the technology stands to change the job market as we know it. 

“I really believe that using it as a tool for education, creativity will expand our intelligence and creativity and imagination,” Murati says. “The first step is to actually help people understand what these systems are capable of, what they can do, integrate them in their workflows, and then start predicting and forecasting the impact.”

Job displacement and AI

While Murati says AI is likely to lead to job displacement, she couldn’t seem to give an answer on exactly how impactful the technology will be, noting that AI will create new work too. 

“I’m not an economist, but I certainly anticipate that a lot of jobs will change. Some jobs will be lost, some jobs will be gained,” Murati says, adding that the jobs most likely to die off are those that are “strictly repetitive,” and not “advancing further” creativity or problem-solving. 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has also spoken publicly about job displacement as it pertains to the widespread adoption of AI. 

“A lot of people working on AI pretend that it’s only going to be good; it’s only going to be a supplement; no one is ever going to be replaced,” Altman told The Atlantic in July 2023. “Jobs are definitely going to go away, full stop.”

Other AI-focused executives have started warning how AI stands to impact the job market. Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online learning behemoth Coursera and a proponent of AI, cites a statistic from the University of Pennsylvania that 49% of workers could have half or more of their tasks exposed to large language models like ChatGPT.

A rate that high—coupled with major shifts in job requirements—could put jobs at risk and require people to be reskilled.

“If all these jobs become a lot more vulnerable, then everybody’s in the reskilling world,” Maggioncalda previously told Fortune. “If you don’t know how to use AI for your job, you’re in trouble. All employers want you to be able to use this if you’ve graduated.”

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