Skip to main content



Commentary: Rise of ChatGPT shows the AI wheel is spinning fast — only those who adapt well will stand tall

In one of my marketing classes, half the class said they had tried ChatGPT-3, the artificial intelligence chatbot that has taken the world by storm.

ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken on Feb 3, 2023.

ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken on Feb 3, 2023.

Follow us on TikTok and Instagram, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

In one of my marketing classes, half the class said they had tried ChatGPT-3, the artificial intelligence chatbot that has taken the world by storm.

With just a few text prompts, the chatbot can write essays, poems and computer code in far less time than humans.

Just as the initial wave of excitement subsided, ChatGPT-4 is here.

This time, it goes beyond text. Send an image, and it can probably craft a social media caption for you. Throw it a tourism website, and you can get a summary of the top three attractions.

Microsoft, which invests in OpenAI, the firm behind ChatGPT, also brings the technology to its search engine Bing and plans to roll it out to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

That means in the near future, you may get sensible, auto-generated meeting minutes or presentations with just a few clicks.

Think of how much time that could save. The above possibilities sound great for office workers in cognitive and creative work. No more poring over long chunks of text. No more wrecking your brain to derive a catchy caption.


But wait a minute. That was not supposed to be part of the pact.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered tools are supposed to take on routine tasks, freeing up human workers for more complex and creative work.

Now that AI has stepped into the creativity terrain, what's next?

If we have a car, we may choose not to walk to the supermarket 1km away. Similarly, if we have easy-to-use designing and writing tools, we will not tap into so much of our brain power.

This over-dependence on AI may result in a decline in humans' key cognitive abilities, like problem-solving.

Never mind that it's humans who developed these tools. The user population who may become over-reliant on AI tools is far larger than the creator population.

This is "digital lethargy", where we consume but do not create. This new wave of technology is likely to shape the future of education. Even preschoolers are exposed to ChatGPT in school.

While AI can have learning benefits, I am genuinely concerned that generative AI tools may limit students' creativity by providing them with ready solutions to almost all tasks.

It is important to consider the potential benefits and risks of using AI generative models in schools and exams.

They may be appropriate in certain contexts, such as for learning and practice, but not in exams where the goal is to accurately assess students' knowledge and skills.

Use of AI in exams could undermine the validity of the exam and make it difficult to fairly assess students' actual abilities.


A study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that up to 375 million workers worldwide may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills by 2030 due to automation. The number represents around 14 per cent of the global workforce.

Like it or not, we have to accept that AI will change jobs and industries.

If workers want to snatch the pie back from AI, they need to find their unique selling point, a term often used in marketing, to stand out in a sea of AI creative platforms.

That means finding back that human connection. The paymaster is still human, and the one who gets employed is the one who can look at the overall picture, solve problems and work well with both humans and robots.

We should go back to our basics and continuously develop our social competencies.

A survey conducted by the Singapore National Employers Federation in 2020 found that 68 per cent of employers believed that their employees lacked the necessary soft skills to succeed in their roles.

Hence, besides staying on top of AI and data-interpretation skills, the human worker needs to focus on collaborative work and fostering ties. The ability to build meaningful relationships will be one of their unique selling points.


Another unique selling point is adapting to changes. ChatGPT and its equivalent counterparts are making the adoption of AI tools much easier.

Programming skills are still cherished, but if you don't know programming, you can still reap the advantage of AI tools to skip routine tasks. But if one is fixated on the old ways of working, the technology divide will widen.

Changing our habits is hard, but survival requires adaptation.

In adapting to the ongoing AI revolution, societies need to manage AI's risks and opportunities. We need to emphasise the responsible use of AI to researchers in this field. That includes privacy regulations and practices to prevent bias in AI systems.

AI bias is the inclination of AI algorithms to generate prejudiced or unjust consequences due to various factors like race, gender, age, and socio-economic status. It can occur unintentionally and is attributed to either the algorithm design or the data used to train the model.

An example is facial recognition technology, which has demonstrated higher error rates for individuals with darker skin tones, leading to erroneous identification and wrongful arrests.

To effectively regulate AI bias, cross-border collaboration between countries is necessary as AI systems and their corresponding training data may come from varying countries and jurisdictions, making it challenging to regulate them on a national level.

Thus, international agreements and co-operation are essential to establish and implement ethical and unbiased standards and regulations for AI systems.


It is expected that the widespread use of AI may result in increased job losses across the economy over time, as certain tasks and roles become automated.

For instance, workers in occupations with higher levels of routine tasks, such as administrative support, are more likely to be affected by automation. These workers may not have high-level technology and coding skills, making it harder for them to transition to new job roles.

Additionally, these workers are more likely to face competition from automation, which could result in lower wages and fewer job opportunities in these industries.

Specific social groups, including older workers, those with lower levels of education or digital skills, and those in less affluent communities, will also be at higher risk of unemployment due to technological disruption.

For business professionals, society can provide upskilling opportunities so they can work alongside AI systems.

Beyond hard skills, educational institutions need to give students more opportunities to hone their soft skills, such as critical thinking and emotional intelligence. It's going to be a lot of learning and relearning.

Lifelong learning and continuous skills development will be essential to remain relevant in the changing creativity market.

At the same time, governments need to provide social protection and support to those who are most vulnerable to job displacement. This could include measures such as income support, retraining programmes, and support for entrepreneurship and self-employment.

The AI wheel is spinning fast.

ChatGPT, its future iterations and its rivals are coming fast to all industries. Students and working professionals must learn to wield these tools to their advantage.

When unbeknownst technologies arrive, the one who stands tall is the one who adapts.



Dr Samer Elhajjar is Senior Lecturer of Marketing at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.

Related topics

ChatGPT education job careers artificial intellignce

Read more of the latest in




Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.