AI, ChatGPT and The Future of Work in Africa, Should We Be Afraid?
It is more than a year and a half since I wrote the article "Future of Work, It is Not The Robots We Should be Afraid of."
"The problem with Jumanne is that he always talks about a fictitious future far from affecting Africa; you need to discuss real things affecting the continent currently" It is a comment from one of my friends who constantly criticize me for speaking about the role of robots, machines, and AI in disrupting African economy. The perception is — Africa needs not worry since these things are far away from our current situation. It has been less than three years since we talked about Artificial Intelligence learning to draw pictures at the stage of Sahara Sparks to work with human beings to augment human abilities to produce arts that they can only dream of. A Nigerian Artist is working with AI to create what has become sensational artwork on social media platforms with over 100,000 likes. The pictures Afegbua uses come from his imagination, and they are not even real people. AI is bringing super-human capabilities to artists, a sector you would have rarely imagined to be disrupted by technology.
But questions linger about whether computer-generated work is a threat to human creativity. There are ethical issues as well. — BBC.Com
We were told creatives would never be disrupted and AI would only affect human-routine works. For it to work, there should be some patterns and repetitions. What is happening? There is nothing repetitive in arts. What next? Who or which sectors are going to be disrupted next?
My Conversation With ChatGPT
I'm always curious to know how AI will shape different sectors in the African continent. When the hashtag #ChatGPT was trending, I had to go and make sure is not another Sofia The Robot story. I wanted to see this tool's potential and how it would affect the continent's future. I started by asking crazy questions like, "What happens if Tanzania invades the USA?" to "Why Did Cambridge Analytica Tempered With The Nigerian Election?" To be honest, I was shocked. I spent years researching the topic of how technology is disrupting African politics. I couldn't imagine the knowledge I have struggled to accumulate for years is being presented within a couple of seconds in the most comprehensive and articulated way if the tool does that to millions of people. It will shut down. That's just too much pressure. It will be stronger and better, but Iwonderw if it will be free for too long. It is creating too much value.
This was just the first part of the equation. What further confused me was that ChatGPT could offer an expert opinion if you master the art of personifying the tool. I asked the tool to pretend to be my early-stage investment advisor and help me navigate my career as an Angel Investor. The results were astonishing. I have a virtual mentor for my investment career. While enjoying the service, I asked myself, what is the fate of financial and investment advisors? If this tool can advise to this level of detail and accuracy. What will happen to the African youth in tertiary education looking to graduate and offer similar services? Are we preparing them to work side by side with these things? Are we planning for what is coming? or is this just another fictitious future? On the positive side, technology will give African youths a competitive advantage if strategically adopted.
What is eating (will eat) jobs in corporate Africa is not robots is software. We need to train youths to understand who is an employee of the future — Jumanne Mtambalike
Wake Up Call
Are ChatGPT and related AI technologies coming to take our jobs? It is the most critical question of our generation, and Africa can not afford to be left out of this conversation. Nutritionists, coders, financial advisors, and artists are all getting disrupted by these tools. What also needs to be clarified is what role Africa will have in these technologies. When you see companies like Microsoft investing billions of dollars in these technologies, would we ever have a say in technologies that will shape the future of the youngest continent in the world? Are we going to continue to be consumers? Technology is already used to shape global agendas, select leaders, and give nations powers. Who is training matters a lot? Artificial Intelligence has attendance to inherit the creators' values, opinions and beliefs. Prof. Ruha Benjamin has extensively talked about algorithms and race. It is worth a discussion. The sooner Africarealize these tools are not toys and that they will intensively impact all aspects of humanity's future, the better. We need futuristic leaders who can prepare us for what is coming.