Balancing the Risks and Rewards: The Ongoing Debate Over AI


Few technologies have been by equal measures as captivating and controversial as the ongoing emergence of artificial intelligence (AI).

Most recently, the tech universe was rocked following the November 2023 firing and unprecedented rehiring of Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence company and maker of ChatGPT. That same month, and roughly a year after its breakthrough introduction in November 2022, ChatGPT announced the release of a powerful upgraded version that, among other capabilities, allows users to make their own customized chatbots and include chatbot creations in the company’s new “GPT Store.” The latest version of ChatGPT also offers a new legal “shield” that reportedly protects professional users against claims of copyright infringement.

However, with the continued growth of AI and on the tail of the aforementioned developments, a host of repercussions and concerns have emerged. Among them,’s research on Google Trends revealed that a search for the term “AI Taking Jobs” reached record-high levels in November 2023. Furthermore, that the term experienced a 400% increase in search activity between November 2022 and November 2023.

While these statistics reflect society’s unease with what it sees as a growing reality, experts agree that those who don’t understand AI or how to use it are at the greatest risk of being replaced by it. This underscores the importance of acquiring new skills as a way to gain a competitive advantage and future-proof yourself from workplace developments like automation.

The Pros and Cons of AI

According to a recent summary of key statistics and predictions collected from prominent industry sources, publications, and market research firms, the growth and evolution of AI will potentially drive a mixed bag of results. These results are expected to have both positive and negative ramifications on the future of society and the workplace. Among them:

  • AI could replace up to one billion jobs worldwide over the coming decade— though it may also create 97 million new jobs by 2025.
  • One out of three businesses surveyed in a recent study claimed to be replacing at least some human functions in their workflow with AI solutions.
  • Administrative/repetitive functions, as well as jobs in such fields as bookkeeping and proofreading, are most at risk of being replaced by AI solutions. Manual labor jobs, as well as those requiring creativity and/or interpersonal skills (such as writing and legal services), are reportedly at the least risk of being replaced by AI.
  • In a recent study, one in four employees surveyed in the U.S. believes that their job may be replaced by an AI solution in the next five years, with 37% expressing concern over the possibility of this displacement.
  • On the other hand, nearly 20% of workers in that study welcomed the growth of AI based on their belief that it will relieve them of some tedious/repetitive tasks. 85% of those surveyed support the move towards automation for “hazardous or unhealthy” jobs.
  • Three out of four employees surveyed in another study, however, believe that the widespread adoption of AI will end up driving inequality in the workplace, with women being at 10% greater risk of job loss due to automation than their male counterparts.

Government Oversight

As the debate over AI rages on between stakeholders worldwide to determine how the technology can best help– not hurt– citizens, companies, and employees, calls for governmental parameters around the use of artificial intelligence are growing louder.

As shared during an October 2023 hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, a joint World Economic Forum and Accenture report revealed that some 40% of the 19,000 individual tasks across 867 occupations studied could be impacted and/or replaced by the ‘large language model’ (LLM) tools used by AI. With generative AI expected to impact everything from the state of both existing and future jobs to privacy, legal, and ethical considerations and more, industry leaders in the U.S. are asking Congress to establish a “rational, risk-based” regulatory framework for AI that will take the needs of employers, employees, and other constituents into consideration.

The U.S. White House Office of Management of Budget supported this request in October 2023 by asking each of its executive agencies to designate a Chief AI Officer (CAIO) to be in charge of “advancing responsible AI innovation” and “managing risks from the use of AI.” According to the official White House memo, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most powerful technologies of our time [and] we must seize the opportunities AI presents while managing its risks….particularly those affecting the safety and rights of the public.”

Stay on the Cutting-Edge of AI

The world of AI remains a moving target. With AI systems “advancing so rapidly and unpredictably that even on the rare occasions lawmakers and regulators have tried to tackle them, their proposals quickly become obsolete,” according to New York Times journalists Karen Weise and Cade Metz.

The rapid forward motion of AI will have ramifications on the global labor pool. A summary of key statistics and predictions reports that 120 million workers worldwide will need “upskilling” in the next three years due to developments in artificial intelligence. The key to avoiding AI job automation, according to the report? “Creativity, emotional intelligence, and STEM skills.

Are you on top of the full extent of AI’s direction, impact on society and business, and evolving design requirements? Are you shoring up your skill sets to minimize the risk of replacement by automation? AI-related course programs from IEEE are designed to keep learners abreast of the many opportunities, challenges, and considerations to be taken into account when developing, planning, using, or training for the expansion of artificial intelligence across its many applications.

Artificial intelligence-related courses from IEEE include:


(1 November 2023). US Senate Subcommittee Focuses on AI in the Workplace. IAPP.

(1 November 2023). White House OMB Issues AI Memorandum to Federal Agencies. IAPP.

Miller, Jim. (11 November 2023). AI Replacing Jobs Statistics: 40 Automation and AI Stats for 2023. 

Weise, Karen and Metz, Cade. (8 December 2023). The Morning: AI’s Big Year. The New York Times.

Wilson, Mark. (November 2023). ChatGPT Gets its Biggest Update So Far – Here are 4 Upgrades That Are Coming Soon. TechRadar. 

Perrigo, Billy. (22 November 2023). Sam Altman Returns as OpenAI CEO. Here’s How It Happened. Time.

(September 2023). Jobs of Tomorrow: Large Language Models and Jobs. World Economic Forum/Accenture.

Lufkin, Braun. (18 April 2022). What ‘Upskilling’ Means for the Future of Work. BBC.

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