Should Remote Workers Fear Getting Replaced By AI?

“My life’s over!”

Hordes of knowledge workers experienced an existential crisis when they first witnessed the potent powers of AI.

Writers stared at screens as ChatGPT wrote entire articles in seconds.

Graphic designers watched Midjourney make multiple renditions with a single click.

Programmers salivate at how AI produced flawless blocks of code.

It seemed like the skills that took them years to master, (aka their source of living), will soon become an afterthought.

“Who would hire me when IT can do that?!”

If you are one of those, I’m here to tell you that it’s not the end of the road for you. Instead, be excited because opportunities are about to rain down. So get ready for it.

I’m here to share 4 reasons why it won’t be as bad as you think. (Yes, even with GPT-4.)

Why AI Won’t Replace “My Guy”        

#1 Somebody will still need to push the buttons.

Consider this the “first mile” of any task or role.

Yes, they are marvellously fast at doing routine and repetitive tasks. But as a tool, AIs need humans to guide outcomes, set parameters and continuously make adjustments. AI will easily do the bottom tier elements of a role (writing, graphic design, coding etc.), but for the “first-mile” aspects—deciding on what to do, which direction to go, or how to go about the task—these usually need the guidance or decisions from a human.

(AI can give you dozens of recipes for a sandwich, for example, but you have to determine what you want in the first place: a sandwich.) 

The best and most competitive companies will always be requiring competent remote workers. The best outcomes of AI are when it works hand-in-hand with expert human handlers.

Think of ChatGPT as a Ferrari. It is a complex piece of machine that can run 220 mph in a heartbeat. And it requires a driver who knows its potential and can handle its power.

For sure, anybody who can grab a steering wheel can drive a Ferrari. But in a highly competitive environment, or in a situation where everybody is driving a “Ferrari” (eg. everybody is working with the same ChatGPT model), the skill of the driver determines who ultimately wins.

An employer who looks at the powers of AI and quickly dismisses remote workers (say, as a cost-cutting measure), will also quickly notice his time being sucked babysitting the technology.

Somebody will still be needed to think up the content strategy, execute it and adjust according to results. Somebody will still be needed to push the buttons, and by letting go of his remote team, he finds himself vacating his old executive functions in order to do their roles. (His business has just traded efficiency for savings. What do you think will happen in the long run?)   

And for all his efforts, he can only generate generic content—the same as everybody else. Without a writer, designer or engineer doing the vital little tweaks, his content will be lost in the sea of sameness.

In fact, we are already starting to see that “sameness” in AI-generated content all over. And people are slowly developing a sixth sense for it. There’s no spice, no edge, and no new twists to the material. 

Companies will still need guys (remote workers) who can take risks, experiment and create content that’s not a simple reflection of what’s already out there.   

#2 AI makes the human touch more valuable.

If anything, the preponderance of AI tools would give a premium on human interactions.

AI is unlikely to replace humans in areas like intuition, initiative, empathy, open-mindedness, emotional intelligence, communicative complexity, perseverance, curiosity, imagination, trust, leadership, adaptability and morality—at least not in the way we humans do it.

When calling in, for example, to complain about a company’s service, you don’t want to deal with a bot who quickly dispenses with your problem and logs you in as another statistic. As efficient as that may be, you want to be actually heard. That’s not a moment to be transactional. You want another human being to listen empathetically to how slighted you felt when promises aren’t delivered.

You want assurance from another human being to express sorry and move heaven and earth to make up for it. (Let’s call this the “Let me speak with your manager” need of humans.)

This is not just true for customer service. That premium for human connection is the same in healthcare, hospitality, HR, education, and even sales and retail.

You want somebody to put your trust in.

An AI bot comes with insane processing speeds, stores ungodly amounts of data, and practically has perfect recall. While these are ordinarily presented as the advantages of AI, but in the context of human connection, these are the very things that turn people off.

“I don’t wanna talk with somebody who cannot relate with me, who I cannot relate to. Or doesn’t understand what I’m going through.”

“I want another someone—with flaws and quirks—who knows and who’s experienced what I’m talking about.”   

#3 You need humans at that “final mile.”

Just as you need remote workers to start the ball rolling at the “first mile,” you need human brains and eyeballs to stand guard at the exit gates.

Yeah, you’ve might have given it clear instructions (or prompts) at the start, and it may move insanely fast at executing them—but high speeds don’t necessarily mean high quality or even appropriate output.

For example, have you tried asking ChatGPT to write an article, (and it does so in seconds), but it came up with something that’s not what you really had in mind? Oftentimes you had to do plenty of cleanup and editing.

And thank goodness you did the editing and caught the errors, or it would have totally changed the tenor of the whole article. This is not just true for writing, but for all AI-assisted roles, from graphic design, music production, and video production, to data analysis.

Fast doesn’t mean perfect.

And good doesn’t mean you couldn’t put in professional tweaks that make it a lot better.

Human beings are needed at that “final mile”—doing corrections, tailor-fitting results, experimenting with prompts etc. This is best done by someone with rich experience and a good understanding of context.  

But it’s not even about the errors that AI inevitably makes. Humans are needed to complete the loop, where experiential depth is required to deal with nuances and ambiguity. 

AI can efficiently and accurately automate tier-one tasks. But after the data is analyzed and the appropriate actions performed, you need a human being to wade through the ambiguity that remains.

This is part of the job where there are no clear-cut answers, where doing one thing seems good, and doing another thing seems good too! This is where human beings shine best.

#4 AI will instead create more jobs.

AI, as it automates tasks, will make some jobs obsolete. It is already changing the way we do things. I am not belittling the existential crises many are feeling. AI will redefine jobs and tasks and it will displace many.

But if history is any guide, it will spawn more jobs than it kills.

The problem is with the limited scope of our imaginations. We have a hard time establishing what these near-future jobs may be.  

When cars began slowly replacing horse-drawn carriages, nobody was really able to predict the plethora of jobs and roles that would flood after.

Cars displaced coachmen or carriage drivers, of course. But in turn, it created car drivers.

It also created road engineers, road construction workers, mechanics, auto detailers, traffic cops, gas attendants, and even Uber drivers. It also created jobs for anyone who has ever worked for Ford, GM or Toyota, as well as many in the global oil industry. It even helped create jobs for those wonderful people at the DMV.       

Over time, AI will necessitate new jobs, new roles and new specializations, from prompt engineers, VR experience designers, AI systems integrators, AI ethicists, consultants etc.

AI will rapidly transform the job market. And these digital requirements will play into the strengths of remote workers. Because remote workers, by nature, are tech-savvy, independent, lifelong learners. These are qualities that take professionals far in a landscape defined by artificial intelligence. 

AI will not spell the end of remote workers.

Businesses will need more remote workers than ever. (But with new skills.)

So instead of fearing the culling from AI, remote workers should understand what is happening right now (and in the next few months) and sharpen their saws for the flood of opportunities to come.  

Be excited.

Kinetic Innovative Staffing believes that, like AI, remote work is the future of work. Companies will collaborate over networks and run on workforces distributed across the globe.

Kinetic helps companies find the best remote professionals for their organisations. If you want properly vetted and highly competent technical support staff, virtual assistants, software developers, social media managers, etc., we will be your guide.

We help you hire technically-savvy remote professionals who can keep pace with the newest technologies and give your company the competitive edge it needs.

With Kinetic’s lead, hiring digitally-fluent remote professionals will not only keep you on top of the latest innovations and developments but also realize significant savings in labour costs. (How does 70% savings sound?)

If you would like to know how this is at all possible, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.   



Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.As remote work becomes more prevalent, many wonder if AI will replace human workers. This article explores the potential impact and offers advice.

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