(Bloomberg) — Advanced artificial intelligence systems stand to threaten jobs primarily in the financial, legal and technology sectors, according to the latest MLIV Pulse survey.
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What’s more striking about the results: More than two-thirds of 292 respondents went on to say they didn’t view their own jobs as being at risk anytime soon, even as they work predominantly in the financial sector.
Artificial intelligence has been in development in some form for decades. But in recent months a surge of interest in so-called generative AI — most notably OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E products — sparked widespread excitement among investors who believe it could also generate massive financial rewards.
MLIV Pulse survey participants were split almost evenly on whether these kinds of technologies were worth investing in. There was an evident lack of professional use of any kind of artificial intelligence from majority of investors, with only 12% saying they used one and just 27% saying they planned to. More than half of all respondents said they aren’t even considering using AI to help them invest.
This contrasts starkly with recent rallies seen in the market for companies connected to advanced AI, in part fueled by the widespread publicity of ChatGPT and Microsoft Corp.’s $10 billion investment in OpenAI, its developer. Companies such as BuzzFeed Inc., C3.ai Inc., SoundHound AI Inc., and BigBear.ai Holdings Inc. are among the stocks that have all seen massive jumps in volume, along with dizzying swings in their share prices.
Read more: We Asked ChatGPT to Make a Market-Beating ETF. Here’s the Result
Businesses and investors are in a race to become go-to names for technology that can create media such as text and pictures from simple prompts — or hold human-like conversations on a wide variety of topics, from whether a cat would win a fight with an eagle, to practical considerations about world events or school projects. Microsoft is up against the likes of Alphabet Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. in working to offer the smartest AI tools to the greatest number of people.
Still, the promise of tools like ChatGPT leaves room for some investors to desire, with only 49% of respondents saying they planned to buy stocks with exposure to such generative AI tools. Overall, about 41% of all respondents said they intended to increase exposure to tech stocks more broadly, while 38% said they’d hold steady over the next six months.
Even before the current wave of interest in AI, the question of whether smart automation will create more opportunities than it displaces has been a topic of great interest to workers and businesses alike (not to mention the Pentagon and the UK government.) In 2023, many of the companies making job cuts at unprecedented levels are also the ones investing billions in building out their AI capabilities.
In January, Alphabet announced 12,000 job cuts globally but at the same time Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai singled out AI as a key investment area. Similarly, Microsoft announced its $10 billion investment in OpenAI just days after saying it would lay off 10,000 employees. Neither company is unique in this regard.
“There are very interesting AI wars coming up between the tech companies,” University of Southampton Professor of Computer Science Wendy Hall told Bloomberg TV.
For more markets analysis, see the MLIV blog.
–With assistance from Alicia Diaz.
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