Have you ever worried that some technological advancement – say, some type of artificial intelligence program – could put you out of work? As a journalist, I have to confess to glancing in the rearview mirror, figuratively speaking, to see if some advanced editing robot is gaining on me.

In 2021, image generator DALL-E was released, followed by the AI-powered text generator ChatGPT last year. Both tools put the spotlight squarely on artists and knowledge workers. 2023 is expected to bring GPT-4, the next leap in AI that can produce convincing text.

We asked five artificial intelligence researchers what these new AI tools mean for people who create visual art and those who absorb information and write about it. The answers, from University of Tennessee’s Lynne Parker, University of Colorado Anschutz’s Casey Greene, University of Colorado Boulder’s Daniel Acuña, University of Michigan’s Kentaro Toyama and Florida International University’s Mark Finlayson, cover a good deal of nuance between “a machine is going to replace you” and “you’re about to become super productive.”

These experts don’t have a crystal ball, of course, but they do have some insights about the kinds of skills that will become increasingly important for working with our new AI colleagues – er – tools.

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Eric Smalley

Science + Technology Editor

Could AI be your next colleague – or replacement? PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock via Getty Images

AI and the future of work: 5 experts on what ChatGPT, DALL-E and other AI tools mean for artists and knowledge workers

Lynne Parker, University of Tennessee; Casey Greene, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; Daniel Acuña, University of Colorado Boulder; Kentaro Toyama, University of Michigan; Mark Finlayson, Florida International University

Now that AI systems can generate realistic images and convincing prose, are creative and knowledge workers endangered or poised for productivity gains? A panel of experts says it’s not so clear-cut.

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