The Implications of ChatGPT on the Future of Work

By: CBoC Team

Ottawa, November 16, 2023 — Generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT are likely to have the greatest impact on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals and knowledge workers, according to new research from The Conference Board of Canada.

“Beyond task efficiency, AI tools have the potential to facilitate significant gains in labour productivity,” stated Michael Burt, Vice President at The Conference Board of Canada. “This could accelerate the pace of Canada’s technology adoption and usher in broader economic growth. Organizations that don’t learn how to make use of these tools risk being left behind by their competitors.”

Upon its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT by Open AI quickly captured widespread attention, marking a turning point in the public’s interest in AI, and placing it at the center of discussions concerning its role and automation in the workplace. With the rapid growth of AI applications and the ongoing evolution of these tools, it’s clear that AI will have significant implications for the future of work.

Tools like ChatGPT are most likely to impact roles with a dual focus on writing and programming skills. According to The Conference Board of Canada, roles that require strong competencies in both domains are uncommon, but do exist, which is the case for some STEM professionals and knowledge workers. Individuals in these professions that require proficiency in both writing and programming are positioned to experience the largest impacts of generative AI tools.

However, due to its current limitations, effective use of AI still requires knowledge and judgement, meaning these tools are likely to play a complementary role in the workplace, supporting rather than replacing people in their roles. At this point, major job displacement appears unlikely as tools like ChatGPT may improve task efficiency and reshape existing roles.

As AI is introduced to the workplace, preparedness by organizational leadership is crucial. Instituting appropriate use policies and monitoring regulatory developments will help organizations mitigate competitive and security risks and allow them to capitalize on the opportunities that tools like ChatGPT present.

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