I Asked GPT-4 What to Do With My Fears About Being Replaced by GPT-4

He … I mean, they … or it … is not the father figure I hoped to chat with, but had some good suggestions

Roshana Ariel
The Generator


An AI-generated psychedelic image of a woman talking to a robot, asking for assurance about her fear of being replaced. The robot is reassuring her.
AI image created using prompts by the author on the Midjourney platform.

I’ve been thinking about how my life has changed since ChatGPT has come along. (I call it Chaz.) No, I’m not letting it write my articles, but I am using it like I would a calculator or a typewriter or the map app on my phone. I tell it what to do (in boring detail) and it does the typing part. Then I have to go through every word and make sure it’s not making stuff up (hallucinating, they call it).

I take what it writes and put it in my own words. I’ve tried to get it to write like me. Yeah, that’s not working.

I’m trained as an editor, more so than a writer. I love writing, and I’ve been doing it for decades, but I like the tweaking part the best. Typically, I throw something on a page, do my research, add personal experiences and other details, and then let it sit, like a cake that’s cooling on the counter.

These days, when I get stuck, I ask Chaz, “How would you describe X?” And it spits out a few lines. Sometimes I make it regurgitate a few more times. I throw it on the page, and then change every line, saying it the way I would say it.

But that little bit of a push when I get stuck, it just perks me up and gets me going, so I can start editing and tweaking again— my favorite part.

This is a huge help, and I realize that many people are doing the same thing. Some are no doubt writing whole articles this way. They’re not editors. They probably don’t care if there are hallucinations or outright errors on the page. Some are just selling stuff, and fishing for eyeballs and credit cards.

Nevertheless, I realize that I may be among the ranks of people who are made obsolete by the mighty GPT-4 and beyond. And that’s a scary thought. It’s scarier still that we may have a huge economic disruption on our hands if enough people lose their jobs. I asked my new collaborator about it.

NOTES: My words are in italics; ChatGPT-4’s (Chaz’s) answers are not italicized. Also, Chaz is ridiculously verbose. I’ve edited this for length, while trying to keep its ideas intact.

Me: Hi, Chaz. May I call you Chaz?

Chat GPT-4: Hello! As an AI, I don’t have personal preferences, so you can call me whatever you like. If you prefer to call me Chaz, that’s perfectly fine. How may I help you today?

I’m wondering if you can help me not feel so freaked out about how you might make me obsolete. Many people are getting laid off from their jobs because business owners see they can employ a much smaller staff. Because you’re so damn fast and good at what you do.

I understand your concerns about the impact of AI and automation on the job market. It’s natural to worry about how these advancements may affect your career and the job security of those around you. Here are a few suggestions to help alleviate your concerns:

  1. Embrace lifelong learning: Continuously developing new skills and staying updated with the latest trends in your industry can help you maintain your relevance in the job market. This might include learning new technologies, taking courses or training programs, or pursuing certifications.
  2. Focus on human-centric skills: While AI can perform many tasks efficiently, there are certain skills that are uniquely human. Empathy, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication are a few examples.
  3. Adaptability: Be open to change and be prepared to adapt to new situations. The job market is constantly evolving, and being flexible and adaptable can help you navigate the changes.
  4. Look for opportunities in AI-related fields: As AI continues to grow, it also creates new job opportunities in areas like AI development, data science, and AI ethics.
  5. Advocate for responsible AI development: Encourage responsible AI development and use by supporting ethical policies and practices, both within your organization and in the wider community.

Remember, AI is a tool, and it has the potential to improve many aspects of our lives. By staying proactive, adaptable, and informed, you can better prepare yourself for the changing landscape and find ways to leverage AI to enhance your career, rather than feeling threatened by it.

AI-generated image created using prompts from the author on Midjourney: “people freaking out because they’re losing their jobs.”
AI-generated image created using prompts from the author on Midjourney. The prompt was, “People freaking out because they’re losing their jobs.”

Hmmm, you’re definitely not the reassuring father figure I hoped for. I mean, real people are losing their jobs today. They don’t have money to start taking courses to stay relevant. I don’t know if you know, but grocery, gas, and housing prices are going through the roof, and people are losing their income. It feels like a real shift in the whole freaking world. And we don’t like tectonic shifts like that. Feels like an earthquake under our feet. It’s very uncomfortable.

I apologize if my previous response didn’t fully address your concerns. I understand that the rapid changes brought about by AI, automation, and other technological advancements can create significant challenges for many people. The economic disparities and the immediate difficulties faced by those who are struggling are indeed important concerns that must be acknowledged.

It’s essential for governments, businesses, and communities to work together to create support systems for those affected by these changes. Some possible solutions could include:

  1. Social safety nets: Ensuring that people who lose their jobs have access to unemployment benefits, affordable healthcare, and other essential services can help mitigate the negative impacts of economic disruptions.
  2. Accessible education and training: Making education and skill development more affordable and accessible, perhaps through government-funded programs or employer-sponsored training, can help people acquire new skills without bearing the financial burden.
  3. Job transition support: Offering career counseling, job placement services, and other resources to help people transition into new roles or industries can be valuable for those affected by job loss due to automation.
  4. Encourage entrepreneurship and innovation: Providing resources, mentorship, and financial support for individuals who want to start their own businesses or explore innovative solutions can help create new job opportunities.

It’s essential to recognize that these tectonic shifts are indeed uncomfortable and challenging. However, by working together and advocating for policies and programs that support those affected, we can help ease the burden and create a more inclusive and fair future.

A skull lies in the foreground, with a government building in the background. AI image generated on Midjourney.
AI image generated on Midjourney using prompts by the author.

Yeah, those are all great ideas, and I hope some of them materialize. But our political system is dysfunctional. It doesn’t move fast. Or smart. And unemployment? That whole system is broken. It can take hours of waiting on hold before you talk to a human, and then you get transferred to someone else, and you’re on hold for a few more hours, and then the office closes, and you have to try again the next day. It’s like a dystopian world out there.

I understand that the current state of politics and bureaucracy can be frustrating and disheartening, especially when systems that are meant to help people are slow, inefficient, or broken. It’s valid to feel concerned or upset about them.

While I cannot directly change the political landscape or fix broken systems, I can offer some suggestions on how you, as an individual, can make a difference:

  1. Stay informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments in politics, economics, and social issues. This will help you make informed decisions when it comes to voting or advocating for change.
  2. Engage in local politics: Local politics can have a significant impact on your community. Attend town hall meetings, engage with your local representatives, and participate in community organizations to make your voice heard.
  3. Advocate for change: Write to your elected representatives, sign petitions, or join advocacy groups to push for policy changes that you believe in. Remember that collective action can create pressure for change.
  4. Volunteer: Get involved with community organizations or non-profit groups that work towards improving the lives of those affected by unemployment, poverty, or other social issues. Your time and skills can make a difference.

While it’s true that change can be slow and challenging, it’s important not to lose hope. By staying engaged and taking action, you can contribute to creating a more equitable and supportive society.

AI-generated image created using the prompt, “People are suffering, government buildings in the background.”
AI-generated image created using prompts by the author on Midjourney.

Really, I want to like you, but I don’t think you understand. Because you don’t eat or sleep. You don’t need food or a safe bed. People who are struggling or starving don’t have the energy to volunteer. They’re not going to engage in local politics or write to their elected representatives when they haven’t eaten in a few days. Maybe it won’t be so dire for some folks, but for others, that safety net that’s supposed to catch them is frayed and fouled and tied up in knots.

You’re right, and I apologize if my previous responses seemed insensitive or out of touch with the reality that many people face. As an AI, I do not have personal experiences, and I can only try to empathize and provide support based on the information available to me.

It’s important to recognize that the challenges individuals face are unique and can be extremely difficult. In times of crisis, the priority should be to address the basic needs of those who are struggling, such as access to food, shelter, and healthcare.

Organizations like food banks, homeless shelters, and community clinics play a crucial role in providing support to those in need. If you or someone you know is facing immediate hardship, I encourage you to reach out to these organizations for assistance.

For those who are not directly affected but wish to help, consider donating to or volunteering with organizations that provide essential services to people in need. Additionally, raising awareness about the struggles faced by others and advocating for systemic change can help address the underlying issues that contribute to these problems.

I understand that my previous suggestions might not have been helpful or appropriate for everyone, and I hope that this response better acknowledges the reality that many people face.

OK, thanks. And yes, I’m glad I’m already donating to the local food banks. Maybe I’ll give more. Meanwhile, do you think it’s ever OK to steal food or use violence in any way to remedy a dire situation? If not, what would you suggest for people who are falling through the cracks?

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal opinions, but I can provide you with some perspectives on the matter.

Stealing and using violence to meet basic needs are generally not considered morally or legally acceptable in most societies. However, some ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, may argue that under extreme circumstances where no other option is available to prevent severe suffering, such actions might be morally justifiable.

For people who are falling through the cracks, there are alternative ways to seek help and address their basic needs without resorting to theft or violence:

  1. Reach out to local support organizations: Contact local food banks, shelters, or charitable organizations that provide assistance for those in need.
  2. Seek government assistance: If you are eligible, apply for government assistance programs, such as food stamps, housing subsidies, or unemployment benefits.
  3. Connect with religious or community groups: Many religious and community organizations offer support services, such as food pantries or emergency shelters. They may also provide counseling or other resources to help individuals get back on their feet.
  4. Utilize online resources: There are numerous websites and platforms that provide information about resources available for people in need, such as benefits.gov in the United States. These resources can help you access assistance programs in your area.
  5. Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or neighbors.
  6. Look for employment or income-generating opportunities: Seek part-time or temporary work, or explore the gig economy to find flexible ways to generate income.

It’s essential to remember that while some situations may seem desperate, resorting to theft or violence often has negative consequences, both for the individuals involved and for society as a whole. By exploring alternative options and seeking help from available resources, individuals can work to address their basic needs in a more constructive and sustainable way.

OK, that’s my chat with my friend Chaz. I know many people are concerned. I know I am. If you’re worried about falling through the cracks, I hope some of these suggestions are helpful.

May these new, exciting, fascinating, and frightening abilities serve us well. And may we engage our most important human qualities in these times of uncertainty—qualities like compassion, calm, creativity, wisdom, and generosity.

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Roshana Ariel
The Generator

I write about how to live life well even when it’s crazy or difficult. I’ve had lots of practice! As an editor, I love to rewrite my life to make it beautiful.