March/April 2023



F orget about the old days of “people serving people.” More restaurants and hotels are now using robotic cooks, delivery robots, self-serving kiosks, Chatbots, and other AI-empowered machines in service operations. Some businesses must rely on machines to address the labor shortage issue. Others count on machines to deliver faster and more consistent service. Moreover, many consumers have become used to automatic self-services during the pandemic. It is not surprising to see robots taking over more service jobs. What is the latest robotic “thing” that deems to take over even more human jobs? That is ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Trans- former), the popular chatbot from OpenAI. Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is designed to answer user requests with AI-generated articles, essays, jokes, and even poetry. By January 2023, ChatGPT was already set to reach 100 million monthly active users (Hu, 2023). On average, about 13 million unique vis- itors used ChatGPT every day in January. As a refer- ence, it took nine months for TikTok and 2.5 years for Instagram to reach 100 million users.

ChatGPT could also threaten white-collar jobs. The development of ChatGPT and related AI can be a threat to more than just front-line labor. Tech jobs (e.g., coders, data analysts, programmers, and software engineers), media jobs (e.g., content creation, techni- cal writing, and journalism), and legal industry jobs (e.g., paralegals and legal assistants) are particularly at risk (Mok & Zinkula, 2023). Is ChatGPT good enough to steal our jobs? I did a test earlier by asking ChatGPT this question: Are robots stealing jobs? ChatGPT gave me the fol- lowing answer: Robots and automation can certainly dis- place some jobs and change the nature of work in many industries. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that we will see an increase in automation in various fields, which could result in some human jobs becoming unneces- sary or obsolete. However, it is important to note that automation can also create new jobs, improve productivity, and increase efficiency in many industries.

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