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What in the World?

Will AI steal my job?

Apr 17, 2023


Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist


Anyone who has played around with ChatGPT — the natural language processing tool driven by artificial intelligence — has probably wondered how quickly AI is going to disrupt the world of work. Is your job safe?

According to Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan, the jobs most at risk are low value-added white-collar professions. The jobs that are safe, Zeihan argues, are the jobs that require analytical skills where one has to draw conclusions across multi-disciplinary fields.

Excerpted from Peter’s April 17 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

The world of international trade is constantly evolving, and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and developments. From emerging markets to geopolitical conflicts, there are many factors that can impact global trade, and we’ll be discussing some of them today. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive into this exciting and ever-changing topic.

Hey everybody, it’s Peter Zeihan. And today we’re going to talk about the future of global trade. Now, the world of international trade is constantly evolving. And it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and developments, from emerging markets to geopolitical conflicts, there are many factors that can impact global trade. And we’ll be discussing some of those today. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive into this exciting and ever changing topic. The world is changing fast. And technology is a big reason why now you’ve probably heard about automation and AI and the really shaking things up in the business world. I mean, who knew robots would be better than packing boxes than humans. Now, we just need to make sure they don’t unionize. One thing we’re seeing is that emerging markets like China and India are becoming major players in global trade. They’ve got big populations and a growing middle class, which means they’re buying more stuff. And that’s great news for businesses that want to sell to them. So if you’ve got a product that’s hot in India, get ready to see those profits skyrocket. Just make sure you have a good recipe for curry because you might need to impress some clients. But there are some challenges to the United States, for example, it’s become more predictive of its industries, which has led to trade tensions with other countries. And Brexit has made things a little bit more complicated between the UK and Europe. I mean, who doesn’t love a good geopolitical drama right? And then there’s the going ons of the Ukraine conflict. Now I know you’re thinking, wow, this is getting heavy. But hey, on the bright side, it’s not all doom and gloom, you can still order your favorite Ukrainian vodka online and have it delivered or right to your doorstep. So let’s raise a glass to international trade even in times of conflict. So what does all this mean for the future? Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but one thing’s for sure. We are in for a wild ride. And as a geopolitical strategist, I’ll be keeping a close eye on things and I’ll share my insights with you as we navigate this ever changing world. Thanks for tuning in. And remember, laughter is the best medicine even when talking about serious topics. Okay. Now, that was not my words, that is chat GDP, who was asked to write a script for me, it took about 60 keystrokes that it came up with that now from a geopolitical analytical point of view of my own, That’s utter crap. It’s at best freshman, not even sophomore. But remember that chat GDP is barely into beta testing right now. And the fact that it was able to analyze what I’ve written and said in the past, and pick up on my cadence and insert the odd job, even if they were just horrible jokes, is an indication of what’s coming down the pipe. And for folks that don’t require my depth of knowledge in order to tease out things like the caveats and long term forecasts, you got to admit that just kind of splatting that on the wall like spaghetti, for a first try, was disturbingly good. Now, this isn’t going to disrupt every industry. But now that the context and the grammar and the sentence structure is something that AI can do, we’re going to be seeing this get more and more mature as it builds in more information. Now, from my point of view, as somebody who’s authored a few books,
copy editors are in trouble. Because this thing was flawless from a grammatical and a copy editor point of view. And again, it generated this thing in less than a second. But when it comes to drawing connections between different topics, or say diving into demography, all I knew was to say the word demography. And all it did was to say the word trade and protectionism, it doesn’t have a deeper understanding of what those mean in a broader context or in a human context. So at the pace we’re going, my job is still good for probably the rest of my professional career. But for folks who are dealing with low value added white collar work, or even mid value, where the strength is not the cross context, and the cross disciplinary experience, but simply running the numbers, and I’m thinking here about basic accountants.
This is a pretty problematic innovation for you. So the trick will be for folks who are a little lower on the value added totem pole to figure out how to use this technology themselves to leverage themselves among their peers. Using this, I probably couldn’t put together too much of a framework, but most people are not in my field. And in terms of teaching someone English, oh, my God, what a great tool. So is it the end of the world for all of us? No, are the machines rising up know clearly, the value add in this system is still relatively limited, but it does have the capacity to form complete sentences and paragraphs and thoughts now. And as it gets better, it’ll start hanging ornaments on those in a way that we’ve already start to challenge those low and mid level white collar jobs. Now the way that the economy is evolving globally, anyway, we’re going into a system where there’s more breakup, and as capital costs get higher because of the retirement of the baby boomers. We are seeing the
For industries suffering benefit in different ways. So for the tech industry, for example, having really, really cheap capital, a lot of people in their 20s and 30s is the lifeblood. And that’s not the world we’re in. And so we’ve seen significant layoffs if they can’t maintain their output, without inputs that are of lower cost. But as the world to globalizes, manufacturing is moving around, and countries like the United States that still want stuff are gonna have to build it themselves. Well, higher capital costs aren’t great for that. But if you are building something real in an environment of shortage, it’s relatively easy to get capital in even workers. What we’re seeing now is kind of the the revenge of the real as you will, as intangible goods no longer have the demographic and economic and capital situations that they need to thrive. But if you want to build industrial plant to build a real physical product, all of a sudden, in relative terms, it’s gotten a lot easier because the Googles and the Facebook’s of the world are not sucking all the oxygen out of the room and all the capital out of the markets. It’s part of the transformation where you chat GDP is going to push in the opposite direction of a lot of those trends, which means that all those white collar workers who have done really, really well in the last 20 years, suddenly have some competition. At the same time the bass inputs, capital and labor for the industry are starting to dry up somewhat. It’s a real reorientation and if you’re in the bottom half of the income scale, the more likely to be blue collar. You have a really, really good decade ahead of you. Okay, that’s it for me. I’ll see you guys later.

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