New AI systems tailored to specific jobs are popping up fast

As both warnings and promises of hope around AI abound, one of the consistent themes is its potential impact on jobs, with new tools aimed at specific sectors being launched regularly.

Andrew Wooden

May 10, 2023

5 Min Read
Human vs artificial intelligence concept. Business job applicant man competing with cartoon robots sitting in line for a job

As both warnings and promises of hope around AI abound, one of the consistent themes is its potential impact on jobs, with new tools aimed at specific sectors being launched regularly.

The pantheon of hot takes concerning AI ranges from warnings that we’re about to be terminated by hyper-smart and genocidal robot killers to dismissing it as nothing but a silly novelty that is no where near the capabilities of a human brain yet. But a general consensus seems to be that new generative AI models are going to have some impact on the job market, to a greater or lesser extent.

Meanwhile enterprises appear to be throwing money at AI –  with 42% now having a dedicated budget of $1 million or more, according to market analyst Omdia. Goldman Sachs has gone so far as predicting ‘generative AI could expose the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs to automation.’

But it’s not as if your company is just going to hand you your P45 because its signed up to Chat GPT and now thinks whatever it is you do around here will just take care of itself. The tools that have the potential to disrupt certain (most?) job markets are going to be more tailored and specified to particular tasks.

Today Icertis launched Icertis ExploreAI, an AI-powered ‘contract intelligence partner’ developed in collaboration with Microsoft. Loaded with generative, assistive, natural language functions the tool is pitched as a way to automated managing business contracts. Monish Darda, Co-Founder and CTO of Icertis describes it as: “With Icertis ExploreAI, Icertis is expanding our AI offering, applying natural language via Azure OpenAI Service to further unlock exciting new contract intelligence use cases, driving significantly higher value to customers and continuing to transform contracting – the foundation of commerce.”

In terms of what it does, it seems like the sort of thing corporate lawyers get paid to do, and perhaps more than that. The release ropes in a spokesperson from Boston Consulting Group, presumably an Icertis client. “We are excited about GenAI for legal services. Based on our working relationship with Icertis, we have been engaging with their team to assess the opportunities of GenAI,” said Ulrike Schwarz-Runer, Global General Counsel at Boston Consulting Group.

Elsewhere, yesterday IBM previewed IBM Watson Code Assistant at its Think 2023 conference, alongside a set of quantum computing angled security tools. The product is targeted at developers ‘across all skill levels’ to write syntactically correct code thanks to AI-generated recommendations.

It’s intended to be generally available later this year. “The first available use case for Watson Code Assistant will be content generation for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform,” states the release. “The solution will enable developers from entry-level to seasoned professionals to write Ansible Playbooks with AI-generated recommendations. This capability will make it easier for beginners to learn Ansible and faster for experts to build playbooks.”

Meanwhile in a different field entirely, fast food chain Wendy’s also announced yesterday Wendy’s FreshAI – a pilot scheme which automates its drive-through service using natural-language chatbot developed by Google. We’re told the system will take orders, have conversations with customers, understand made-to-order requests, and generate responses to frequently asked questions.

“Wendy’s introduced the first modern pick-up window in the industry more than 50 years ago, and we’re thrilled to continue our work with Google Cloud to bring a new wave of innovation to the drive-thru experience,” said Todd Penegor, President and CEO of Wendy’s. “Google Cloud’s generative AI technology creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers, and allows our employees to continue focusing on making great food and building relationships with fans that keep them coming back time and again.”

These are just three examples in very different fields announced within a day of each other – there are obviously going to be a gazillion more. Cognisance of AI and its potential impacts has accelerated rapidly since Chat GPT turned up on the scene and seemed to represent a step change in generative AI capabilities – but whether positive or negative the actual ramifications of mass-deployed AI are sometimes quite hard to pin down.

With AI looking like the new gold rush in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, these new tailored tools for specific jobs offer some more clarity on exactly what type of thing AI can do for a business, and what that might mean for certain areas of employment.

There is a temptation to get very doom-mongering about it, and perhaps that will end up being warranted in the fullness of time. The firms launching these products don’t come out and say what roles this bit of software could make redundant, but if they weren’t saving labour what’s the point of them? The offered pitch is usually more along the lines of these are tools to help people in their jobs as opposed to replacing them – and you get a whiff of that sentiment with the canned quote from the IBM Watson Code assistant release above.

Maybe that’s true, but since IBM itself appears to think roughly 7800 of its own jobs could be replaced by AI in the coming years, fears around future widespread disruption of the global job market are simply impossible to dismiss.

Update 15:00 10/05/2023: The quote from Ulrike Schwarz-Runer from Boston Consulting Group has been updated at the request of the issuing PR agency. 


Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Register for the newsletter here.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

Get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Register for the newsletter here.

You May Also Like