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‘Almost doubled our workload’: AI is supposed to make work easier. These workers disagree – CNN


A new crop of AI tools promise to simplify tasks, improve efficiency and increase productivity in the workplace. But that hasn’t been Neil Clarke’s experience until now.

Clarke, a publisher and publisher, said he recently had to temporarily shut down the online submission form for his sci-fi and fantasy magazine, Clarkesworld, after his team was inundated with a deluge of “consistently bad” AI-generated submissions.

“It’s some of the worst stories we’ve ever seen, actually,” Clarke said of the hundreds of pieces of AI-produced content that he and his team of humans must now manually parse. “But it is more a problem of volume, not of quality. The quantity is burying us”.

“It almost doubled our workload,” he added, describing the latest AI tools as “a thorn in our side for the past few months.” Clarke said he anticipates his team will have to shut down shows again. “It’s going to get to a point where we can’t handle it.”

Since ChatGPT launched late last year, many of the tech world’s leading figures have waxed poetic about how AI has the potential to increase productivity, help us all work less, and create new and better jobs in the future. “In the coming years, the main impact of AI at work will be to help people do their jobs more efficiently,” said Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. said in a blog post recently.

But as is often the case with technology, the long-term impact is not always clear or the same across industries and markets. Furthermore, the road to a techno-utopia is often bumpy and fraught with unintended consequences, be it lawyers fined to send bogus court summons from ChatGPT or a small publication buried under an avalanche of computer generated postings.

Big tech companies are now rushing on the AI ​​bandwagon, promising significant investments in new AI-powered tools that promise to streamline work. These tools can help people quickly compose emails, give presentations, and summarize large sets of data or text.

In a recent study, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that access to ChatGPT increased the productivity of workers assigned tasks such as writing cover letters, “sensitive” emails, and cost-benefit analysis. “I think what our study shows is that this type of technology has important applications in administrative work. It is useful technology. But it’s still too early to know if it will be good or bad, or how exactly it will make society adjust,” Shakked Noy, a doctoral student in the MIT Department of Economics, co-authored the paper. said in a statement.

Lisa R Clarke

Neil Clarke, editor of Clarkesworld magazine.

Mathias Cormann, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently He said the intergovernmental organization found that AI can improve some aspects of the quality of work, but there are trade-offs.

“However, workers report that the intensity of their work has increased after the adoption of AI in their workplaces,” Cormann said in public comments, noting the findings of a report published by the organization. The report also found that for non-AI specialists and non-managers, the use of AI had only a “minimal impact on wages so far,” meaning that for the average employee, work is increasing, but pay is not.

Ivana Saula, director of research for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said workers in her union have said they feel like “guinea pigs” when employers rush to implement AI-powered tools at work.

And it hasn’t always gone well, Saula said. The implementation of these new technological tools has often led to more “residual tasks that a human still needs to do.” This can include performing additional logistical tasks that a machine simply can’t do, Saula said, adding more time and pressure to the daily workflow.

The union represents a wide range of workers, including in air transportation, health care, public service, manufacturing and the nuclear industry, Saula said.

“It’s never about a clean cut, where the machine can completely replace the human,” Saula told CNN. “It can replace certain aspects of what a worker does, but there are some to-dos that get assigned to whoever is left.”

Workers also “say that my workload is heavier” after the implementation of new artificial intelligence tools, Saula said, and “the intensity with which I work is much faster because it is now set by the machine.” She added that the feedback they receive from workers shows how important it is to “really involve workers in the implementation process.”

“Because there is knowledge on the ground, on the front lines, that employers need to take into account,” he said. “And often I think there are disconnects between frontline workers and what’s going on in the shop floor, and senior management, not to mention CEOs.”

Perhaps nowhere are the pros and cons of AI for business more apparent than in the media industry. These tools offer the promise of speeding up, if not automating, copywriting, advertising, and certain editorial work, but there have already been some notable bugs.

The news outlet CNET had to broadcast “substantial” fixes earlier this year after experimenting with using an AI tool to write stories. And what was supposed to be a simple AI-written Star Wars story published by Gizmodo earlier this month similarly required correction and led to employee agitation. But both outlets have indicated they will continue to use technology to help in newsrooms.

Others, like Clarke, the publisher, have tried to combat the consequences of the AI ​​boom by relying on more AI. Clarke said he and his team turned to AI-powered job detectors to deal with the deluge of submissions, but found these tools weren’t helpful due to unreliability flagging “false positives and false negatives,” especially for writers whose second language is English.

“You listen to these AI experts, they talk about how these things are going to make amazing advances in different fields,” Clarke said. “But those are not the fields that they are currently working on.”

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Ellis Wilder

Hey there! My name is Ellis Wilder, and I'm a student at the University of Calgary. When I'm not hitting the books, you can usually find me writing articles for sports and travel blogs. I've always had a passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures, so I love sharing my travel stories with others. Whether I'm hiking in the Rocky Mountains or exploring a new city, I always try to capture the essence of the places I visit in my writing. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy reading my articles as much as I enjoy writing them!

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