Artificial Intelligence — a workforce threat or solution?
SEP 28, 2023 | WRITTEN BY WR COMMUNICATIONS
| INSIDE WASHINGTON RETAIL
Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, artificial general intelligence (AGI) has been front-page news and a conversational topic. AI has already been widely adopted in numerous forms, including auto-correct and Roomba vacuums. Artificial general intelligence (AGI), such as ChatGPT, has the potential to multiply productivity and perform tasks that currently require advanced learning and complex thinking skills. AGI’s known and unknown aspects have sparked fear and excitement among workers, business leaders, and policymakers.
At the AWB Policy Summit in Spokane last week, Zack Kass, an AI advisor and speaker, delivered a promising future for the potential and limitations of AGI. Kass spoke of leading scientific breakthroughs to cure cancer and Alzheimer’s and amazing productivity gains that can enhance job satisfaction. The same week, Federal Reserve Board Governor Lisa Cook cast cautious optimism on AGI’s potential to turbocharge worker productivity and impact economic policies. AGI could be a timely answer to slow productivity gains and the long-term labor crisis addressed in the Wall Street Journal this week.
However, the transition to using AGI should require extraordinary care due to public perceptions of potential threats, which may prompt unnecessary limitations to AGI’s progress. Kass cautioned that progress on AGI is not only an economic issue but also a national security issue. China is proactively investing in AGI development, while the West’s efforts are collaborative among several private organizations. Policymakers at state and federal levels are beginning to respond to public perception and AGI’s potential.
In a speech before the AFL-CIO Convention in 1960, President John F. Kennedy spoke of the revolution of automation as one that “carries the dark menace of industrial dislocation, increasing unemployment, and deepening poverty. We now stand at a new historical dawn as our world faces a “hyper-quantum” leap forward. AGI is demonstrating exponential growth and opening an unforeseen future, just as Kennedy launched the space race to compete with the USSR in 1962, which delivered many collateral innovations to benefit industry and Americans’ day-to-day lives.
WR’s government affairs team is working diligently to stay informed on these topics and listening to members’ concerns to help steer a smooth transition on AGI technologies and policies.