UAE jobs: Should employees worry about ChatGPT, other AI tools replacing them?
Experts weigh in: Which sectors are likely to get affected, and what should professionals do to remain relevant?
Published: Wed 8 Feb 2023, 11:13 AM
Last updated: Wed 8 Feb 2023, 7:02 PM
ChatGPT — the language app that mimics human writing — has taken the Internet by storm, with even the UAE Vice-President asking for an “urgent study” on how AI technologies can be used in government work.
As he chaired the UAE Cabinet meeting on Monday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, asked the authorities concerned how the technology will affect education, health, media and other sectors.
The biggest debate on the Internet currently is if AI tools like ChatGPT can take over human jobs by automating them. Talking to Khaleej Times, UAE-based experts offered a whole new perspective: Their potential to create new jobs.
Citing studies, Saeed Al Hammadi, director of Communications at the Sharjah Capability Development (Tatweer), said that by 2025, over 70 per cent of workers will require reskilling to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
“Utilising cutting-edge technology like ChatGPT helps us prepare young leaders for the future and gives them the tools they need to succeed. Furthermore, ChatGPT's versatility extends beyond the education sector, with real-world applications in areas like customer service, journalism, healthcare, and finance. This flexibility makes it a valuable tool for building a diverse range of skills, including technical proficiency, problem-solving, and critical thinking,” he said.
Al Hammadi added that Tatweer will incorporate innovative tools into “training and skills-building programmes”.
Nicki Wilson, managing director of Genie Recruitment, believes the world is “quite a long way off” ChatGPT taking over jobs. “But I think it is an insight into what is to come,” she said.
AI-powered platforms — however accurate — cannot replace being human, she added. “We have creativity and unique quirks that AI systems cannot emulate. For the most part, there is still a need for AI platforms to be monitored for accuracy by humans.”
She said ChatGPT will benefit professionals instead of taking over their jobs. “In the long run, it may affect many professions including administrative positions, coordinating type roles, some research, SEO, copywriting and even digital roles. (However) if anything, initially, it will assist you to perform your role with greater efficiency.
“I feel this is something that professionals will benefit from and it will, in fact, make their work quicker … as simple tasks can be generated quickly, giving an individual more time to work on the more complex programming.”
Which sectors could be affected?
Arun Leslie John, chief market analyst at Century Financials, predicted that ChatGPT could replace jobs that are procedural. “The coming months could see a lot of innovation as companies begin to train data using API (Application Programming Interface) of ChatGPT. This could be very much true in fields which require expert opinion.
“For example, ChatGPT can write codes, which will boost productivity tremendously and thus reduce the need for large software teams. The number of high-paying jobs in software could come down as a result. The other professions that could be impacted are graphic design, investment banking, financial modelling, etc. Even low-end jobs like customer service representatives, technical support, legal assistants and data entry could be impacted.”
John, however, called for regulating AI. “Since they have vast quantities of text or images for creating a proper response, it can lead to allegations of copyright violations. In education and copywriting professions, there are already concerns about plagiarism, so there is need for regulation.”
Halim El Roumi, regional director (Africa Middle East and Asia) at AI solutions provider Spacee, said tools like ChatGPT can create new jobs and improve the efficiency of existing ones.
“While it is true that the implementation of AI has led to job displacement in certain industries, it is also important to recognise the potential for job creation and skill development in others,” he said. “In the retail sector, for example, our flagship products … have revolutionised the shopping experience for consumers and created new job opportunities for employees with skills in areas such as data analysis, software development, and customer service.”
Employees must upskill and adapt to the changing job market to remain relevant and competitive in an increasingly digital world, he added.
AI-powered government services
According to Shamsh Hadi, co-founder and CEO of data security platform ZorroSign, Inc., ChatGPT can be used in government customer service; visa and residency transactions; health check-up appointment scheduling; and to draft contracts and agreements.
“There are many other areas that can be explored in banking, education, tourism, healthcare, free zones, media, architecture, translation, transportation, etc,” Hadi added.
He highlighted how the UAE leaders have always encouraged a “frictionless system” for all services and processes. “ChatGPT and/or other AI tools in the future can, if used correctly, further enhance the lives of the people living in the UAE.
“Using the latest tried-and-tested technologies can simplify and reduce the time for accessing information and completing a task. It is mobile-friendly, so visits to government departments can also be reduced, thus reducing the carbon footprint. It is an ideal time to incorporate this, especially as the UAE announced that this is the Year of Sustainability and that we are hosting COP28.”
Boosting financial systems
At the Department of Finance in Ajman, officials are exploring how ChatGPT could help optimise the “efficiency and effectiveness of government financial work systems and sustainably manage financial resources”.
Marwan Al Ali, director-general of the department, said: “This technology offers a human-like conversational experience, which has the potential to revolutionise machine interactions and impact various industries.”