3 Jobs that SA businesses are using GenAI for right now

  • World Wide Worx, Intel and Dell Technologies have published the SA Generative AI Roadmap 2024 based on a survey of IT decision-makers at 100 large enterprises in SA.
  • Per this survey, local enterprises are bullish about AI and how it can positively impact their business.
  • Unfortunately, that means AI could end up taking job opportunities previously available to human workers.

On Wednesday, World Wide Worx published its SA Generative AI Roadmap 2024 in partnership with Intel and Dell Technologies.

The roadmap is based on the results of a survey of IT decision-makers at 100 large enterprises in South Africa. This is important as it highlights how businesses are thinking about generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) and more importantly, how they are currently using it.

And local enterprise is using AI, per the roadmap, 44 percent of those surveyed said they are using AI in some capacity be it official or unofficial. 45 percent of companies said they are not currently using GenAI but plan to in future and only 10 percent of those surveyed showed no interest in the technology at all.

Local businesses then are embracing AI and that should be a concern for workers, especially wordsmiths.

When asked what they are using GenAI for, 33 percent indicated they are using it for text/written content. Surprisingly, 27.8 percent of respondents said they were using it for video creation and 24.4 percent indicated the use of GenAI for code generation.

If you are a writer, video editor or coder then, you may find it increasingly difficult to find work. This is concerning because if large enterprises are using AI for these tasks, that means there are fewer opportunities for freelancers and other folks who make a living from these careers.

But those three aren’t the only jobs at risk. The majority of respondents said they plan to use GenAI in future for audio creation, image creation, chatbots, neural network creation and engineering design.

Survey respondents highlight which jobs it wants AI to do in future. Source – World Wide Worx, SA Generative AI Roadmap 2024.

The majority of businesses said GenAI as having a positive impact on the business whether it be in terms of productivity, turn over and even profit. However, when it comes to the human element of a business, IT decision makers are “neutral” in their feelings on AI’s impact.

Perhaps most alarming is that when asked about what impact GenAI may have on staff retention and recruitment nearly no respondents indicated that it would have a negative impact.

Perhaps these decision-makers need to go out into the world and “touch grass” as the kids say. There is an air of mistrust about the impact of GenAI on jobs among most working-class people and how could there not be.

Everywhere one looks business leaders are telling their peers that AI will replace workers while telling the workers everything is fine, only for job cuts to come down the line. There is talk of those being able to harness AI being able to prosper but that argument falls flat when you consider that the jobs AI will replace are often filled by people who have a low education but depend on a job to make ends meet.

For example, fast-food chain Wendy’s is “Automating the drive-thru so restaurant employees can focus on creating great customer experiences”. But eventually, Wendy’s is going to notice that it needs fewer employees because, well, AI is handling orders so why does it need a person to man the order counter?

The research presented this week highlights that so many more jobs are at risk than just customer service representatives and fast food workers. If you’re a coder, unless you’re working in the AI field, you may find it harder to find a job in the future. Even video editing, a time-consuming and skill-intensive task, is consumed by AI.

Perhaps the most alarming part of watching this horror story unfold is how slow governments are to address GenAI. The sector is evolving at a rapid pace and there is seemingly an AI solution for everything.

Without regulation scammers and other unsavoury types can abuse the fascination with the tech with no recourse for the users. There is of course talk of regulating AI inspired by deepfakes but when it comes to AI replacing jobs, there is very little conversation in that regard.

While the SA Generative AI Roadmap 2024 is only one survey from one group of professionals, the findings have spooked us and highlighted that even in a country where there is an unemployment crisis, profits and productivity are more of a concern than the people AI will replace.

[Image – Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]


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