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Generative AI tools like ChatGPT fuel fears about a white-collar recession

The trend: The debut of generative AI made attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos nervous about the future of white-collar jobs and the rise of misinformation.

Tech recession as harbinger: The tech industry is turning to AI as its flagship product while the layoff bloodbath continues.

The overall US job market is strong for now, but if a recession hits, the fear faced by blue-collar workers for decades—that machines will replace them—will be more acutely shared by their white-collar counterparts.

The main takeaways: ChatGPT is sending shockwaves around the world, but in its current state, it’s only suitable for augmenting human creativity, not replacing it.

  • In the short term, human creativity will continue to be essential to the economy.
  • AI is trained using intellectual assets created by people, so in theory, if people stop creating, AI will run out of fresh source data.
  • People’s need to connect with other people and express themselves is in itself an economic driver and is what fuels a lot of the branding behind digital content that AI can’t easily substitute.

ChatGPT is a stepping stone to artificial general intelligence (AGI) for tech companies making rapid progress in the field.

  • AGI could be capable of working independently and creating fresh data sources.
  • It might also develop personalities that people will want to connect with in lieu of human relationships.
  • The timeline for this becoming reality is unknown, but it could happen at a pace faster than society can adapt to, fueling existential risk.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Connectivity & Tech Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the technology industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.