Go back

Humans vs AI: Can ChatGPT replace human work?

September 8, 2023
Neon sign that says hello

Guys, we made it. The future is now. We might not have flying cars yet, but we live in an age with robots that can produce detailed strategies, beautifully written scripts, and even music hits. What a time to be alive!

The 21st century will go down in history as the age of data. We produce so much of it on a daily basis, with generations who have their entire lives documented for the world to see. Social media and the smartphone have meant that previously incomprehensible amounts of data have become available at a click of a finger. And guess what? We have the machines to analyse and utilise it.

But artificial intelligence and machine learning, despite their huge potential in helping humanity contend with the volume and complexity of data, have been portrayed as a threat to human jobs and traditional employment models. Some business papers are already shouting from the rooftops how ChatGPT is replacing human employees.

So, it’s becoming increasingly urgent to ask: can AI actually replace human work?

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a machine’s ability to perform tasks and simulate cognitive functions that are usually associated with human intelligence. Examples of which can be reasoning, learning, interacting with an environment, and problem solving. Specific applications of AI include natural language processing, speech recognition, and machine vision.

These systems ingest large quantities of information, analyse it for patterns and correlations, and use this data to make predictions.

An average person today interacts with AI on a regular basis. If you have an Alexa or have ever used Siri, you’ve utilised AI; not to mention chatbots and image recognition tools.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that uses machine learning algorithms to produce responses in a human-like manner. It can be applied for conversations, fact-finding, programming, creating copy, and many other uses. It’s trained on a large sample of text from the internet, so it has vast knowledge and capabilities. Businesses have employed it to improve customer service, automate sales processes, and generate marketing ads, for example.

What are the benefits of AI in the workplace?

1. Efficiency

AI works fast and accurately, processing high quantities of data with no issue. It shortens the time certain tasks would take, as it can be much more efficient than a human in repetitive tasks such as data entry. When large amounts of inputs or outputs are involved, AI can reduce the time significantly.

2. Availability

Humans require breaks and rest. They’re impacted by their social and personal lives, take holidays, and don’t work 24/7. AI, on the other hand, is constantly available. They can give adequate responses to customers at any time, and complete tasks rain or shine.

3. Consistency

AI is not going to invent the wheel, but it does produce a consistent high quality outcome. It is not going to make mistakes, as it will exclusively rely on the data sets it’s given. While dealing with more unique situations or complex circumstances might not be in its ability, for the vast majority of everyday cases, the output of AI would be consistently of high quality.

4. Scalability

There’s a limit to how much a human being can process, and even if you maximise an employees’ environment and conditions and reach their potential, they are going to plateau at some point. AI, on the other hand, can handle an unlimited number of tasks or interactions, be it juggling thousands of queries or generating dozens of copy ads instantaneously.

What are the risks of AI in the workplace?

1. Lack of creativity and independent thinking

Even though tools like ChatGPT sometimes feel like they can truly create something out of nothing, AI systems rely on algorithms that are based on human input and programming. This means that they lack creativity, innovation, and critical thinking skills that humans develop throughout their lives, which can be an issue when a task requires thinking out of the box or any kind of ethical decision-making.

2. No emotional intelligence

The words we say aren’t the whole package of what we’re saying. In our communication, humans rely on cues beyond the literal meaning of a sentence. While we have extremely complex and advanced AI language models that can understand and respond to queries, it can’t comprehend body language or tone of voice, as well as the way the output would make people feel. This means that AI might not be the best at handling sensitive situations that require empathy, as it lacks emotional intelligence.

3. Data quality constraints

AI pulls its answers from the data set it’s been trained on. In some ways, it’s comfortingly consistent: if the information you gave the AI is of high quality, the answers will usually be of high quality, too. However, when the input is incomplete or poor, unlike a human employee who can think of other solutions or research methods, AI fails to draw accurate conclusions. This can snowball into bias.

4. Insufficient adaptability

The element of being constrained by the data sets available is particularly glaring when it comes to rapidly evolving situations. Humans have the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn from experience. AI would have to be told to learn something or programmed to change, but it would never learn from experience and mistakes in the same way a human does.

Should you still employ humans?

When computers were first invented, people were worried about them replacing workers. The reality was different, however — employees started using computers to help with their everyday tasks, making the overall market more efficient and productive, freeing humans to do more of what they do best: creative thinking.

Today, AI is posed against humans as a question of us vs them, instead of thinking of tools like ChatGPT as amplifiers of our roles. It’s about augmentation, not substitution. The key is finding the right balance between the strengths of AI and those of your human employees. 

For example, a chatbot can be extremely useful for answering repetitive questions, but without a human to answer the urgent and special cases, your customer service is not going to do well. Alternatively, an AI software can help your receptionist schedule appointments or input new contacts into your phonebook, but it doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to know who to prioritise in this process.

And that’s why, when you’re hiring, you must focus on exactly the qualities that distinguish humans from machines — soft skills, emotional intelligence, and the cultural fit within your organisation. By utilising a cognitive and personality assessment like Thrive’s, you can identify the qualities that make your employees shine, instead of focusing on the traits that ChatGPT already possesses.

Interested in learning more about how we measure your candidates? Book a demo with us today.

Stay in the know

Subscribe and get Thrive's latest updates and articles straight to your inbox.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.