Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, holds no fear regarding the displacement of jobs by artificial intelligence. On the contrary, he believes that AI will generate additional employment opportunities, especially in the realm of entrepreneurship.
As ChatGPT gained traction last winter, notable figures in the tech industry, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, expressed concerns about AI potentially replacing human workers across various industries.
However, Chesky, in a recent talk on the “This Week in Startups” podcast, emphasized that these individuals seem to overlook a crucial aspect: we are yet to discover the types of jobs that AI will bring into existence.
According to Chesky, envisioning the jobs that will be eliminated is simpler than envisioning the jobs that will emerge. To imagine the latter, we would need to conceive of something that currently does not exist.
Chesky stated that AI is already enhancing the productivity of Airbnb’s software engineers. Within the next six months, approximately 30% of their daily tasks could be automated by tools similar to ChatGPT. However, Chesky emphasized that this automation does not necessarily put their jobs in jeopardy. Instead, it would free up their time, enabling them to focus on more challenging and personalized projects.
According to Chesky, it’s not just computer scientists who stand to benefit from AI advancements. As AI continues to evolve, individuals will be able to communicate their desired website specifications in plain English to chatbots, and the technology will construct the website without the need for coding languages, as explained by the CEO of Airbnb.
He expressed his belief that this development will give rise to millions of startups, presenting a significant opportunity for entrepreneurship. According to him, it will become a tremendous advantage as anyone will be able to accomplish what was previously limited to software engineering just 5 years ago.
The Impact of AI on Employment
Chesky is not the only one who shares this perspective. RSE Ventures CEO Matt Higgins recently highlighted in an article for Make It that AI is already enabling people to earn more money in less time. He emphasized that AI serves as an effective tool for income generation, surpassing traditional methods such as selling flowers on street corners.
The concern over technology replacing human workers is not a novel one. The advent of computers and the internet led to the elimination of certain job roles like typists and phone operators. However, it also made other occupations more efficient and opened up new opportunities, such as those in website design and content creation.
Nevertheless, the expansion of AI brings both benefits and potential drawbacks, as pointed out by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Musk highlighted the possibility that if AI is capable of outperforming humans in their respective jobs, individuals may struggle to find fulfillment in their work.
One of the challenges arises from the rapid pace at which AI is progressing, making it difficult for anyone to predict its future trajectory with precision. Chesky expressed the concern that if companies fail to adapt at a comparable rate, they face the possibility of being left behind.
While acknowledging the potential societal implications and the need for preparedness, Chesky emphasized the creative aspect of AI. From his perspective, there is no cause for worry unless one chooses to exclude themselves from embracing AI as a creative tool. Chesky emphasized that computers are ultimately tools that can enhance one’s creativity and productivity.