How ChatGPT Will Destabilize White-Collar Work (2023)

(Video) The Real Danger Of ChatGPT

In the next five years, it is likely that AI will begin to reduce employment for college-educated workers. As the technology continues to advance, it will be able to perform tasks that were previously thought to require a high level of education and skill. This could lead to a displacement of workers in certain industries, as companies look to cut costs by automating processes. While it is difficult to predict the exact extent of this trend, it is clear that AI will have a significant impact on the job market for college-educated workers. It will be important for individuals to stay up to date on the latest developments in AI and to consider how their skills and expertise can be leveraged in a world where machines are increasingly able to perform many tasks.

There you have it, I guess: ChatGPT is coming for my job and yours, according to ChatGPT itself. The artificially intelligent content creator, whose name is short for “Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer,” was released two months ago by OpenAI, one of the country’s most influential artificial-intelligence research laboratories. The technology is, put simply, amazing. It generated that first paragraph instantly, working with this prompt: “Write a five-sentence paragraph in the style of The Atlantic about whether AI will begin to reduce employment for college-educated workers in the next five years.”

ChatGPT is just one of many mind-blowing generative AI tools released recently, including the image generators Midjourney and DALL-E and the video generator Synthesia. The upside of these AI tools is easy to see: They’re going to produce a tremendous amount of digital content, quickly and cheaply. Students are already using ChatGPT to help them write essays. Businesses are using ChatGPT to create copy for their websites and promotional materials, and to respond to customer-service inquiries. Lawyers are using it to produce legal briefs (ChatGPT passes the torts and evidence sections of the Multistate Bar Examination, by the way) and academics to produce footnotes.

Read: Will ChatGPT kill the student essay?

(Video) Chat GPT Is About To Take Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs In 2023

Yet an extraordinary downside is also easy to see: What happens when services like ChatGPT start putting copywriters, journalists, customer-service agents, paralegals, coders, and digital marketers out of a job? For years, tech thinkers have been warning that flexible, creative AI will be a threat to white-collar employment, as robots replace skilled office workers whose jobs were once considered immune to automation. In the most extreme iteration, analysts imagine AI altering the employment landscape permanently. One Oxford study estimates that 47 percent of U.S. jobs might be at risk.

No single technology in modern memory has caused mass job loss among highly educated workers. Will generative AI really be an exception? No one can answer this question, given how new the technology is and given how slowly employment can adjust in response to technological change. But AI really is different, technology experts told me—a range of tasks that up until now were impossible to automate are becoming automatable. “Before, progress was linear and predictable. You figured out the steps and the computer followed them. It followed the procedure; it didn’t learn and it didn’t improvise,” the MIT professor David Autor, one of the world’s foremost experts on employment and technological change, told me. ChatGPT and the like do improvise, promising to destabilize a lot of white-collar work, regardless of whether they eliminate jobs or not.

People and businesses are just figuring out how to use emerging AI technologies, let alone how to use them to create new products, streamline their business operations, and make employees more efficient. If history is any guide, this process could take longer than you might think. Consider electricity. The circuit, electric lights, and rudimentary electric motors were developed in the early 1800s. But another century passed before the widespread adoption of electricity in the United States began to lift GDP. Or take computers. They became commercially available in the early 1950s but did not show up in the productivity stats until the late 1990s.

Some technologies clearly improve productivity and reduce the need for labor. Automated machine tools, for instance, depress manufacturing employment while lifting output and productivity, as do many of the forms of machinery invented and employed since the Industrial Revolution. But other technologies—even amazing ones—show surprisingly muted effects. How about the internet, which has revolutionized almost every facet of communications in the past four decades? Despite altering how we date and talk and read and watch and vote and emote and record our own life stories, launching a zillion businesses, and creating however many fortunes, the internet “fails the hurdle test as a Great Invention,” the economist Robert Gordon argued in 2000, because it “provides information and entertainment more cheaply and conveniently than before, but much of its use involves substitution of existing activities from one medium to another.” Nearly a quarter century later, the internet still hasn’t spurred a productivity revolution. Smartphones haven’t either.

So is AI like the smartphone or is it like an automated machine tool? Is it about to change the way that work gets done without eliminating many jobs in aggregate, or is it about to turn San Francisco into the Rust Belt?

(Video) ChatGPT does your homework, steals your job

Predicting where technology will cause job losses is hard, Autor noted. Remember the freak-out several years ago over the possibility of self-driving automobiles eliminating work for truck drivers? But AI is much more flexible than a system like Excel, much more creative than a Google Doc. What’s more, AI systems get better and better and better as they get more use and absorb more data, whereas engineers often need to laboriously and painstakingly update other types of software.

Read: What happens when AI has read everything?

As a rule, when companies can substitute machines for people, they will. AI can do work currently done by paralegals, copywriters, digital-content producers, executive assistants, entry-level computer programmers, and, yes, some journalists. That means such jobs might change, and soon. But even if ChatGPT can spit out a pretty good paragraph on AI, it can’t interview AI and labor experts, nor can it find historical documents, nor can it assess the quality of studies of technological change and employment. It creates content out of what is already out there, with no authority, no understanding, no ability to correct itself, no way to identify genuinely new or interesting ideas. That implies that AI might make original journalism more valuable and investigative journalists more productive, while creating an enormous profusion of simpler content. AI might spit out listicles and summaries of public meetings, while humans will write in-depth stories. “In many ways, AI will help people use expertise better,” Autor said. “It means that we’ll specialize more.”

Fred Benenson: AI is coming for your favorite menial tasks

AI could also make a wide variety of industries more efficient, with muted effects on overall employment. Matt Wampler is a co-founder of an AI-powered small business called ClearCOGS. He’s been a “restaurant guy” his whole career, he told me. Restaurants and grocery stores, he says, tend to run on thin margins, yet still tend to waste a considerable amount of food. People order more spaghetti than burgers; buns get thrown out. “Restaurants just lag behind on technology,” he told me. “They’re all about people. It’s people serving people; it’s people managing people. And in that very human-centric world, the default way of handling problems is to hand it to a person. Phil’s going to do it.

(Video) ChatGPT, More Layoffs, and WALL-E

ClearCOGS takes restaurants’ customer-order history, supply data, and labor data and uses AI-powered modeling to make their books leaner and more profitable. If people are starting to order more spaghetti than burgers, the system will prompt the chef or manager to buy more pasta and fewer rolls. “We put this in place in some of my cousin’s sandwich shops,” Wampler told me. “Simple answers to simple questions. The question they needed answered was, there’s an assistant manager on the night shift and a couple hours before close, he has to decide whether to bake another tray of bread or not. We provide that answer.” This use of ChatGPT isn’t eliminating human jobs, really; neighborhood sandwich joints aren’t hiring McKinsey consultants. But it might make food service more efficient as a whole.

Even if it doesn’t boost the economy, AI could still change the texture of our lives and alter how we spend our time, like social media did before it. Video games might become more immersive. Shops might have far better copywriting and sales visuals. Movies might look cooler. Videos in the depths of YouTube might become far weirder and more beautiful. We might also see far more formulaic content than we already do. (Much more ominously, there might be a huge amount of plausible-seeming disinformation online.)

For workers, Autor noted, the great risk is that AI technologies cause too sudden a change in what kind of labor employers want. Certain specializations might get wiped out, leaving thousands of call-center operators or marketing workers unemployed. But he stressed the benefits of having such technology in our hands. Productivity has languished for decades. Machines doing a little more work would have a big upside, after all.


What white-collar jobs have been eliminated by automation? ›

The least-automatable white-collar U.S. jobs are in education, health care, counseling, arts, science, and engineering occupations. In Wisconsin, white-collar jobs accounted for 32% of total employment in 2020, and 14% of that was in occupations that are at least 50% compatible with task automation.

Can you give two examples of white-collar jobs? ›

Typical white-collar jobs include company management, lawyers, accountants, financial and insurance jobs, consultants, and computer programmers, among many others. Many jobs that require a shirt and tie today are actually low-paying and high stress, especially in the modern services and technology sectors.

Will automation destroy all jobs? ›

There are two sides to this coin: Robots and AI will take some jobs away from humans — but they will also create new ones. Since 2000, robots and automation systems have slowly phased out many manufacturing jobs — 1.7 million of them. On the flip side, it's predicted that AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025.

Can AI replacing white-collar jobs? ›

A recent study combining data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with estimates compiled by an AI operating the website found that 60% of white-collar desk jobs – which account for 86% of all jobs in the US – are less than 50% compatible with AI replacement.

What is the hardest white-collar job? ›

While not as physically demanding as firefighter, surgeon ranks highest among white-collar positions for physical activity as well. Other white-collar jobs with high stress include senior corporate executive, attorney and physician, while clergy and pharmacist make the list largely due to long work weeks.

What is the highest paid white-collar job? ›


What is the most common white-collar job? ›

The most common white-collar job is being an accountant.

These white-collar jobs typically take place in an office or corporate setting. The term “white-collar” actually comes from the professional businesswear that these occupations usually require on a day-to-day basis.

Which jobs will disappear by 2030? ›

5 jobs that will disappear by 2030
  • Travel agent. It amazes me that a travel agent is still a job in 2020. ...
  • Taxi drivers. ...
  • Store cashiers. ...
  • Fast food cooks. ...
  • Administrative legal jobs.
May 30, 2022

What jobs are most in danger of automation? ›

Workers with lower levels of education and who perform routine tasks—think cashiers or file clerks—face the greatest risks of their jobs being automated.

What jobs Cannot be replaced by automation? ›

Jobs involving high levels of human interaction, strategic interpretation, critical decision making, niche skills or subject matter expertise won't be replaced by automation anytime soon. “For instance - Lawyers, Leadership roles, Medical Professionals, Healthcare practitioners, IT & HR Professionals.

What jobs will be lost due to AI? ›

Which jobs are most at risk of being automated by artificial intelligence? The jobs most at risk of being automated by artificial intelligence include those that involve manual labor or redundant tasks. Examples include bookkeeping, proofreading, retail and courier services, security guards, and even doctors.

Which jobs are in danger of AI? ›

Top 10 Most Endangered Jobs from AI
  • White collar:
  • Blue collar.
  • For all jobs: human-contact / empathy / compassion.
  • Telemarketer / telesales. Telesales are among the very first professions to be replaced. ...
  • Customer support. ...
  • Warehouse workers. ...
  • Clerks and operational staff. ...
  • Telephone operators.

What skills can AI not replace? ›

Here are the top 8 skills that robots and automation can't replace:
  • Creativity. Humans are still superior at creativity to machines, no matter how many there are. ...
  • Collaboration and Teamwork. ...
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Adaptability and Flexibility. ...
  • Moral Awareness. ...
  • Leadership Skills.
May 27, 2022

What is the most stressful industry to work in? ›

Biggest Workplace Stress Increase
Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction57.452.0
Health Care and Social Assistance60.758.0
Automotive Industry58.556.1
Information and Cultural Industries58.957.5
1 more row
Nov 16, 2021

What is GREY collar hiring? ›

The term “grey collar” refers to an employee whose career path has taken them from the field to management. In other words, they are a “blue-collar” employee who has become a “white-collar” employee.

What is golden collar job? ›

Gold Collar Worker: Refers to highly-skilled knowledgeable people such as doctors, lawyers, scientists and also young, low wage workers who also get parental support. Gray Collar Worker: Refers to those who work beyond the age of retirement. For example, health care professionals, IT professionals.

What is the happiest rated job? ›

The 10 Happiest and Most Satisfying Jobs
  • Dental Hygienist.
  • Physical Therapist.
  • Radiation Therapist.
  • Optometrist.
  • Human Resources Manager.

What is a black collar job? ›

Now, black collar workers are the creative types of professionals like artists, graphic designers, and video producers. The moniker has transferred over to them due to their unofficial uniforms, which are generally comprised of black attire.

What is a pink color job? ›

August 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) A pink-collar worker is someone working in the care-oriented career field or in fields historically considered to be women's work. This may include jobs in the beauty industry, nursing, social work, teaching, secretarial work, upholstery, or child care.

Who commits most white-collar? ›

Who commits white-collar crimes? Most are white men with at least some higher education, from middle-class backgrounds. They are in their late 30s to 40s, employed, usually married, with religious and community affiliations. Most have engaged in less serious criminal activity in the past.

Are white collar workers happier? ›

Where Joy Goes to Work. It's no secret (or surprise) that workers in some professions are happier than others. The researchers found that around the globe, people in blue-collar jobs were less happy than those in white-collar jobs.

Are white collar workers middle class? ›

Even though both groups believe they sit between rich and poor, people in white-collar jobs today are often referred to as the middle class, whereas those doing blue-collar labor are called the working class. Yawning gaps in income, wealth, education, and social status, of course, separate the two groups today.

What are some examples of jobs that have been lost to automation? ›

10 jobs lost to technology
  • Human computers. Before electronic computers, a human computer would complete complex mathematical calculations by hand. ...
  • Pin boys. ...
  • Lift operators. ...
  • Switchboard operators. ...
  • Cashiers. ...
  • Factory workers. ...
  • Warehouse workers. ...
  • Data-entry clerks.

What jobs will disappear due to automation? ›

Workers with lower levels of education and who perform routine tasks—think cashiers or file clerks—face the greatest risks of their jobs being automated. However, automation is likely to have widespread effects.

What jobs will be left after automation? ›

Uniquely Human Roles

These roles involve uniquely human skills that machines are unlikely to replace in the near future. For example, roles that involve creativity, compassion, empathy, strategy, and building trust. These roles include jobs like nursing, teaching, care-taking, counseling, entertainment, etc.

What jobs will automation eliminate? ›

The new automation will eliminate millions of jobs for vehicle drivers and retail workers, as well as those for health care workers, lawyers, accountants, finance specialists, and many other professionals.

What jobs will go away by 2030? ›

5 jobs that will disappear by 2030
  • Travel agent. It amazes me that a travel agent is still a job in 2020. ...
  • Taxi drivers. ...
  • Store cashiers. ...
  • Fast food cooks. ...
  • Administrative legal jobs.
May 30, 2022

What are 3 industries that will be impacted by automation? ›

These are 10 industries that may use automation:
  • Automotive. The automotive industry may use automation to assist in the construction of vehicles. ...
  • Construction. ...
  • Delivery. ...
  • Electronics. ...
  • Food service. ...
  • Health care. ...
  • Laundromats. ...
  • Pharmaceuticals.
Mar 3, 2022

Which city has the highest potential for job loss due to automation? ›

Toledo, Ohio

What jobs will disappear by 2025? ›

Jobs to decrease in demand by 2025
  • Data entry clerks.
  • Administrative and executive secretaries.
  • Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks.
  • Accountants and auditors.
  • Assembly and factory workers.
  • Business services and administration managers.
  • Client information and customer service workers.
  • General and operations managers.
Jan 26, 2021

What are the top 5 jobs that will be declining in the immediate future? ›

Some of the jobs that are fastly getting declined and replaced by technology are:
  • Word Processor and Typist.
  • Nuclear Power Reactor Operator.
  • Data Entry Keyers.
  • Travel Agent.
  • Door-to-door Salesperson.
  • Watch and Clock Repairers.
  • Prepress Technician.
  • Taxi Drivers.
Apr 23, 2022

Which jobs will be obsolete in 20 years? ›

13 Jobs That Will Be Gone Within 20 Years
  • Travel agents. Technology has undermined the role of the travel agent. ...
  • Cashiers. With more than 3.3 million people working in this capacity, the job of cashier isn't going to disappear anytime soon. ...
  • Bank tellers. ...
  • Drivers. ...
  • Newspapers. ...
  • Fast-food workers. ...
  • Telemarketing. ...
  • Warehouse workers.
Nov 10, 2022

What jobs will disappear by 2050? ›

Following is a list of 10 jobs that will disappear by 2050.
  • Taxi Drivers.
  • Printing Press Operators.
  • Textile Worker.
  • Postal worker.
  • Fast Food Worker.
  • Cashier.
  • Travel Agent.
  • Switchboard Operators.

What jobs will not exist in 10 years? ›

These aren't the only jobs that will disappear
  • Travel agents (as people use and community-destroying vacation sites like Airbnb)
  • Paralegal and legal assistants (94% chance of automation)
  • Fast food cooks (hello robo-flippers)
  • Songwriters (hey Google)
  • Translators and Interpreters (hey Google)

What jobs are always needed? ›

12 high demand jobs
  1. Computer manager. Computer managers oversee a company's network and IT services, ensuring users can access required software and tools without interruption. ...
  2. Paralegal. ...
  3. Technical writer. ...
  4. Web developer. ...
  5. Financial manager. ...
  6. Medical assistant. ...
  7. Software developer. ...
  8. Market research analyst.
Jul 13, 2022

What are 2 disadvantages of automation? ›

Other disadvantages of automated equipment include the high capital expenditure required to invest in automation (an automated system can cost millions of dollars to design, fabricate, and install), a higher level of maintenance needed than with a manually operated machine, and a generally lower degree of flexibility ...

Which jobs will not disappear in the future? ›

Is AI taking over our jobs? 10 professions that will never disappear
  • HR Manager. Jobs evolving around human relationships are at least risk of disappearing. ...
  • Lawyer. Legal work is pre-eminently human work. ...
  • Operational and IT-manager. ...
  • Clergymen and philosophers. ...
  • Sales- and marketingprofessionals. ...
  • CEO. ...
  • Parent. ...
  • Nurses.

Will automation cause a job crisis? ›

In the long run, automation will replace jobs that are highly repetitive and require little skill. For example, most of the jobs that have a lower risk of being replaced by automation include: Jobs with high levels of creativity and autonomy. Jobs that require a lot of social interaction.


1. ChatGPT: Revolutionizing Language Learning for Self Learners
(Jarods Journey)
2. Is ChatGPT the next GOOGLE? Heated Debate (Open AI) Robotics
(Seany Bitcoins)
3. How to Start Making Money with ChatGPT in 2023! (Open AI)
(Ralph Ervin)
4. What’s Next for the Economy After The Massive Tech Layoffs? | Offline with Jon Favreau
(Pod Save America)
5. "Ep. 123: Is ChatGPT going to take all the jobs? | Trent Fowler & Thomas Frey"
(Futurati Podcast)
6. 2023 01 29 John Haller' s Prophecy Update "Prophetic Singularity"
(Fellowship Bible Chapel)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated: 05/10/2023

Views: 5867

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.