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The AI boom is trickling into the job market, and the pay is good, if you can get it.

Netflix recently posted a position paying as much as $900,000 for someone with extensive experience working with machine learning platforms. (The posting appeared to be taken down after a little too much press, but one with a similarly high range is still visible if you search AI.)

It’s not the only high-paying job in generative AI. Nvidia has postings paying in the $400,000 range. Meta, Microsoft, and Alphabet’s Google also have positions with lucrative salaries advertised.

“AI is the new Wall Street,” NYU Professor Vasant Dhar says. “Now it is Big Tech that is making big money, these are the new cash machines. It is all about intelligence, the future is all about intelligence. There isn’t enough supply of really good people.”

With the six-figure jobs piling up, AI might not be the jobs destroyer that some thought, at least for certain skilled professions.

And as Netflix hires AI positions paying nearly a million dollars, its writers remain on strike — in part due to issues surrounding generative AI.

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers walk the picket line during their ongoing strike outside Sunset Bronson studios and Netflix offices in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 11, 2023.

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers walk the picket line during their ongoing strike outside Sunset Bronson studios and Netflix offices in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Aug. 11, 2023. (Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS)

The challenge, Dhar says, is that “there is a very high variance of ability out there. Some people are worth every penny, you can’t pay them enough, and there are people who aren’t worth it. The question is, can you tell the difference?”

If AI isn’t at the core of a company’s business, that distinction becomes even harder and more important, which gives companies already in the AI game — think Google, Nvidia, and Microsoft — a leg up.

Job market disruption

While these new lucrative jobs are popping up, AI is displacing others. A new study by Technalysis Research, “Generative AI in Enterprise,” shows that 10% of companies polled have replaced humans in roles with AI. The study also showed that another 36% of companies are expecting an impact of AI on staffing.

“The reality is, just as we have seen with any major technological innovation, there are shifts in the workplace and some roles get displaced,” said Bob O’Donnell, the president of Technalysis and analyst who conducted that research.

So why are people shaking in their boots about the impact of AI on the labor market?

O’Donnell says that the key difference now is who it’s happening to.

“It has happened in the past, but it was blue collar and now people are more concerned because of the potential impact to white collar,” he said.

The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen which displays output from ChatGPT, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Boston.

The OpenAI logo in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

Man versus machine

AI’s impact on the labor market ultimately depends on how good it is, since the early developmental jobs at Netflix and Nvidia are unlikely to move the needle for anyone but the lucky few.

Arthur AI researchers conducted a Hallucination Experiment to see just how good generative AI is at answering a slew of questions ranging from math facts and US presidents to Moroccan political leaders.

There were several cases where the bots devolved into hallucinations, instances where generative artificial intelligence delivers misinformation. GPT-4 performed the worst on the test of US presidents, but it did the best on math. Anthropic’s Claude 2 performed the best on US presidents. Meta’s Llama 2 needs work overall; researchers noted more hallucinations with its large language model compared to GPT and Claude 2.

At least for now in the battle of man versus machine, generative AI has shown itself to be imperfect, capping the pace of structural changes, at least somewhat.

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