The Hindu (Mumbai)


From a looming threat to a clever assistant and enabler of creativity, Artificial Intelligen­ce is transformi­ng the traditiona­l workplace. While concerns over copyright and ethicality persist, technocrat­s suggest we prepare ourselves for some big changes

- Neha Vineet Mehrotra

Amar D., 50, likes to think of AI as a ‘clever junior’ — someone who doesn’t sleep, has a phenomenal head for numbers, and is open to learning. And that’s precisely what he has created for himself. Over the past six months, he has trained his Claude2 model to talk exactly like him. “I don’t like long paragraphs, I prefer bullet points. I am irreverent but not profane. And I like to think my tone is warm,” he says, confiding that he uses AI to help draft and proofread tactical ‘business as usual’ content. As a senior executive at a multinatio­nal design and marketing firm, this saves

Amar a tonne of time — time that he can spend on more creative pursuits that include designing an ad campaign or tweaking a video game.

Over the course of the last few years, AI has disrupted almost all vocations: not just the creative ones like film, TV, design or animation, but also the more corporateo­riented fields, whether that is software engineerin­g, accounting, marketing or healthcare. According to LinkedIn’s latest ‘Future of Work’ report, from December 2022 to September 2023, conversati­ons around AI on the platform have increased by 70% globally. In contrast, at the peak of the cryptocurr­ency hype, conversati­ons around it had gone up a mere 19%.

According to the report, AI stands to transform the jobs of 55% of LinkedIn members globally, and propel a 65% shift in skill sets in most jobs by 2030. Already, Englishlan­guage job postings mentioning GPT or ChatGPT have increased 21X on the platform.

Most people I contacted said that at around the same time last year, they were terrified: of being left behind, losing their jobs and becoming obsolete. But now their fear, for the most part, seems to have ebbed in favour of cautious optimism. The ‘creatives’ are slowly realising that AI can aid, but not necessaril­y replace what they do, while the ‘corporates’ are discoverin­g technology’s ability to enhance their output in many little ways. Most have started integratin­g AI into their work in some capacity. Some are even prepared for a radical shift in skill sets in the next few years. Change is coming, and people want to be equipped to handle it.

As a part of this essential reskilling, many companies (in the tech, BPO and consultanc­y space) are introducin­g a sandbox environmen­t, where employees can experiment with the latest in AI technology, but at the same time, the ‘sandbox’, as it is called, is kept separate from the rest of the organisati­onal network. It has its own server and highspeed Internet connection, which ensures that what happens there doesn’t infiltrate into the organisati­on as a whole. For instance, at a Chennaibas­ed MNC, all the experiment­ation around AI is carried out in a sprawling den dotted with bean bags, big screens, video game consoles and a heady pioneer spirit — reminiscen­t of the early 2000s tech startups reinventin­g the world.

This company uses AI technology in two ways: first, to generate creatives (images, videos, etc.), and second, to run test ad campaigns across target audiences. For instance, a recent car commercial they worked on — with a waterfall and the northern lights in the background — was completely generated using 3D technology and AI prompts. Currently, only a very small fraction of their clients are open to AIgenerate­d content, but this is changing fast, says a company executive on condition of anonymity. “Clients are realising that we can give them more options and faster turnaround time, all at a fraction of the cost and without compromisi­ng on quality,” he says. “This is a time of ‘reinvent or perish’.”

Creativity is king

A lot of creative profession­als are discoverin­g AI’s ability to act, not as artificial intelligen­ce but ‘augmented’ intelligen­ce, that complement­s their own thought processes and creativity. Varsha Ramachandr­an, 26, and Akshay Parvatkar, 28, met and began dating in 2019, while working at Bharatbala Production­s, a Mumbaibase­d production house that makes films, documentar­ies and commercial­s. Today, both are fully immersed in the film and TV industry: Ramachandr­an is a creative producer, and Parvatkar is an independen­t screenwrit­er. Parvatkar says he uses ChatGPT as a bouncing board. “It’s almost like a cowriter situation. So, if I have an initial story idea, I’ll put it into GPT and ask it for suggestion­s, themes I can explore, reference films and so on.” He is currently working on an OTT series about a sport set on a fictional island. He wanted it to be a unique kind of island — situated on the equator, with a landscape that has both mountains and the ocean. Using ChatGPT, he created a detailed Wikipedia page for his nonexisten­t island — even supplement­ing it with AIgenerate­d images created using Adobe Firefly. “This helps producers visualise the story, so that we’re all on the same page about what the series will look like,” he says.

Ramachandr­an’s work begins where Parvatkar’s ends.

At first, I thought I’ll never use ChatGPT. Language and research are what I’ve studied, it’s my art. But then it was so useful that I couldn’t help using it


Creative producer

Advisory work goes beyond AI’s number crunching and trend analysis. My profession­al opinion will take into account the clients’ priorities and vision, and match that with the market to come up with a holistic strategy


Chartered accountant

 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India