Aussies who will have to work less as AI tech shuts down

Administrators will face the biggest changes among workers who have to work less as the rise of artificial intelligence causes a “short fuse, big bang” shift in the workplace.

Data published Monday by leading consultancy Deloitte Access Economics showed that nearly a quarter of the economy will be disrupted by technologies like ChatGPT, which are being used by the next generation of workers for everything from writing emails to creating reports.

Industries such as professional services, media, information technology, finance and education will be the most disrupted as so-called “generative AI” takes off, Deloitte experts predict.

Jobs dominated by administration, communication and creative tasks are particularly amenable to automation, but these workers may enjoy a quick shift to a four-day work week as a result.

John O’Mahony, lead tech partner at Deloitte Access Economics, said that using AI in the workplace means that professionals in many industries won’t need to work as much in the coming decades.

He said workers using the latest AI tools are currently saving about five hours a week.

“The commentary so far this year has focused on the idea that the entire job will go,” he said.

“But what we’re finding instead is that there are actually certain tasks, particularly routine tasks, that can be done with these new tools.

“These new generative AI tools are helping people do their jobs better and faster.”

The beginning of big changes

Artificial intelligence has been an important part of modern industry for more than a decade, but recent advances in technology have opened up its use for a variety of communication and creative tasks, fueling a global gold rush among the world’s largest technology companies.

US-based giants like Google and Microsoft are leading the way, along with a firm called OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT and has since become a multi-billion dollar company.

Deloitte’s report, which also included a survey of 2,550 workers across 18 industries, found that nearly a third of workers are already using generative AI in their jobs, although two-thirds also said their manager didn’t know about it yet.

Only 9.5 per cent of large Australian businesses with more than 200 workers have officially adopted the latest AI technology in their business – this figure drops to 1.4 per cent for all companies.

That’s changing quickly, according to an independent survey of small business owners published Monday by Peninsula Global, with one-third of bosses already replacing or planning to replace some of their employees with AI.

More than half of the employers surveyed said they believed AI could reduce the number of people they hire, with tasks such as administration, creative writing and communication being the main initial applications.

Deloitte’s analysis shows that administrative jobs face the biggest initial disruption from technology, with between half and 90 percent of those jobs set to be partially taken over by AI in most industries.

Mr O’Mahony said tasks such as summarizing reports, putting together business spreadsheets and creating copy for marketing are current applications for the latest AI tools.

But other possibilities are likely to emerge over the next three years as workers adopt the technology instead of managers experimenting with tools like ChatGPT in the office.

“You still need workers who can understand the data and verify the authenticity of things,” Mr O’Mahony said.

“But having these tools work together saves workers time.”

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