AI replacement of human labor is going to be threatening to many people

Stefano Puntoni is a Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Researcher at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on how new technologies are transforming consumption and society. In an interview with the GDI and during the 20th European Trend Day, he provides insights into his research and delivers an important message.
4 January, 2024 by
AI replacement of human labor is going to be threatening to many people
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

GDI: Mr. Puntoni, If all our questions for this interview were AI-generated – would you notice it?

Stefano Puntoni: Not necessarily. But let me answer with another question: Would you know if these replies were AI-generated?
More seriously, LLMs today can perform many writing tasks at the level of the average human. But the effort of human experts still makes a difference.

And how would you feel about it? Is it an honor to be asked by ChatGPT, or is it an insult?

Not an honor but probably also not an insult. The key here is in the relational inferences that users make. If LLMs are not used in a thoughtful way, they can undermine customer experience and relationships. Appropriate disclosure is key.

With all the rapid progress we can see and feel in AI technology – should we already start to feel inferior? Or should we stay proud of our (ever shrinking) fields of superiority?

Machines are indeed developing super-human capabilities in an increasing number of areas. But we should not forget that humans still have “super-machine” abilities, too. Let’s celebrate those. Organizations considering how to use LLM to improve organizational processes should understand the complementarities between human and artificial intelligence, and strive to maximize the collective intelligence of the organization. Not human OR AI, but Human AND AI.

In history, the fear of losing social status has often led to resentment and aggression. In case of aggression against hardware, this is called Luddism. Do you expect similar developments against software – something like AI Luddism?

For sure, AI replacement of human labor is going to be threatening to many people, especially in identity-relevant domains. This is an important message from my research. In fact, that’s going to be the topic of my talk at the European Trend Day!

On 13 March, you will speak via livestream about “Pride Against the Machine” at our 20th European Trend Day. Like its 19 predecessors, it will be a great real-life conference at a great real-life location. No Siri on stage, no Alexa, no ChatGPT or Gemini. Should we feel old and out-dated about that? Or will the tradition of connecting minds and people also have a future?

At a time of technological, social and political turbulence, conversation is as important as ever.

Learn more about Stefano Puntoni at the 20th European Trend Day which will be held at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute on 13 March 2024 under the heading "AI buddy: redefining social relationships". International AI pioneers will show how humans and artificial intelligence can work together to shape the future, they will present the latest findings from research and showcase the most exciting AI startups.

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