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AI Clones: The Future Workforce or a Dystopian Nightmare?

Monday 10 June 2024 - 16:05
 AI Clones: The Future Workforce or a Dystopian Nightmare?

In a candid interview, Eric Yuan, CEO and founder of Zoom, painted a vivid picture of a future where artificial intelligence (AI) would take over the most mundane tasks in our professional lives. His vision is both intriguing and unsettling, leaving one to ponder whether it is a dream come true or a dystopian nightmare.

Yuan's bold proposition is to create digital avatars that would attend Zoom meetings, respond to emails, and answer phone calls on our behalf. "Imagine a world where you no longer need to attend your Zoom meetings, respond to your emails, or take phone calls," he proclaimed. "A digital avatar will speak for you in meetings, respond to your emails, and take your calls, freeing you up for other activities."

Yuan further admitted, "I really hate reading my emails every morning, and ideally, my AI version could read most of them." While his contempt for email management is relatable, the idea of relinquishing control to an AI clone raises eyebrows.

The Zoom CEO remained vague about the specifics of how he plans to bring this vision to fruition, but he emphasized the importance of large language models (LLMs) in making it a reality. Currently, Zoom incorporates AI features that summarize video conference exchanges, but Yuan's ambitions stretch far beyond that.

Acknowledging the challenges, Yuan mentioned the issue of hallucinations and errors made by current AI tools, which could have grave consequences in the professional realm. However, he expressed confidence, stating, "I think the hallucination problem will be solved."

For those concerned about the dehumanization of the workplace, Yuan attempted to assuage fears, claiming, "If I stop by your office and give you a hug or a handshake, AI can never replace that. We still need in-person interactions."

The idea of virtual clones is gaining traction, as evidenced by Aidan Cramer, CEO of the startup aiApply, who recently unveiled a 35-second video showcasing his virtual double entering a Zoom meeting. While it was merely a demonstration, it showcased the potential for virtual clones to convincingly engage with others.

Moreover, job seekers are increasingly turning to AI for assistance in crafting resumes and cover letters. According to a 2023 survey by Resume Builder, approximately 46% of job applicants in the United States use ChatGPT to write their resumes or cover letters.

As AI continues to advance, the line between human and machine blurs, raising profound questions about the future of work, ethics, and the essence of human interaction. While Yuan's vision may seem far-fetched, it serves as a reminder that the impact of AI on our lives is both inevitable and unpredictable, leaving us to grapple with the consequences of embracing or rejecting this technological revolution.

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