Life,  Tech,  Wealth

AI is really about to put me out of a job

News related to AI, one after another. The day before, you fell asleep as usual, and the next day you woke up to be shocked by the new AI news “bomb”.
The AI ​​language model represented by ChatGPT and the AI ​​painting product represented by Midjourney let the world see the efficiency and capabilities of AI. Their application speed is much faster than expected. In the past month, ChatGPT has opened API (application programming interface), and the upgraded GPT-4 has been applied by Microsoft to search engines Bing and Office family buckets. The latest development is that on March 24, ChatGPT partially lifted the restriction of not being able to connect to the Internet, and users have been able to retrieve real-time information.
The world is changing rapidly, and the most worrying thing for migrant workers is, will AI make me unemployed?
A clear fact is in front of us, some companies have begun to use AI to replace some jobs. CCTV Finance reported in February that according to the U.S. “Fortune” magazine website, a platform that provides employment services conducted a survey of 1,000 companies. The results showed that nearly 50% of the companies said they were already using ChatGPT; 30% of the companies said that , is planned to use. Among the companies that have already used ChatGPT, 48% have let it work instead of employees. The specific responsibilities of ChatGPT include: customer service, code writing, recruitment information writing, copywriting and content creation, meeting minutes and document summaries, etc.
At present, the work of ChatGPT has been generally recognized by the company. 55% rated it “excellent” and 34% rated it “very good”. Forty-eight percent of businesses surveyed said they had saved more than $50,000 since using the AI-powered chat app. 11% reported cost savings of more than $100,000.
Recently, Shenran talked about their experiences with several professionals whose jobs have been impacted by AI.
Many of them are practitioners in the game industry. Some of them are UI workers who were laid off last year. When they were looking for a job this year, they found that some companies had introduced AI to do original paintings and UI, and there were fewer recruiters, so they chose to switch to sales; Some people are freelance illustrators. From receiving orders to draw 1,500 yuan a piece, they can only earn 200 yuan a piece for AI retouching.
Some people’s team has already incorporated AI into the daily work of the original artist. She is worried that it will be included in the performance appraisal in the future, and feels anxious about it. AI painting is already streamlining the team, which is expected to be reduced by 50% this year, but at the same time, it is also found that AI painting also threatens the future of the company. Party A can use AI painting to do it themselves, reducing orders; however, some people remain optimistic. Learn to master AI first, thinking that AI will only eliminate people who don’t know how to use it or who oppose it.
The tide is unstoppable, and the changes are starting from the industries or companies that embraced the changes at the very beginning. How can I get a new world ticket? This is already a question that many people have to think about.
Here are their stories.

was laid off last year,

Looking for a job this year and finding out that AI might put me out of work again

Sansan | 25 years old former game practitioner in Shenzhen
At the end of last year, my game company at the time laid off more than 100 people because of its performance and the rules of elimination. I have been in the game industry for less than two years, and what I do is UI. Maybe the company also considered factors such as cost performance, so I lost my job.
When I returned to Shenzhen after the Chinese New Year, I started looking for a job. The game circle is also well aware of what happened last year. Some companies told me bluntly, “We used to have 300 people, but last year we laid off more than 100 people. There were 20 UI before, and now there are 6. We want to reduce costs. You We can’t give you the wages you want.”
I have been looking for a job for three months. In the early stage, I just heard people say that I have no money, and then suddenly someone told me that the company has introduced AI to do the original painting and UI, and the number of recruits will decrease.
I inquired about it, and many game companies have introduced AI, and now the most used ones are the original painting and UI. During the early development of the game, some sketches should be made. Before, the designer would come up with two or three sets of plans a week before discussing and evaluating them. If there is AI, as long as you feed it s and combine the effects and elements you want, it can output many style sketches within an hour, and then producers, planners, and artists can choose the best one among them. Those that meet your own ideas will be handed over to the designer to improve.

Objectively speaking, there are pros and cons to this matter. For some independent game producers or start-up companies, the cost of training newcomers is too high, and the game industry is unpredictable. A game takes too long to incubate, and it is not certain whether it will make money on the day it is released. Now the AI ​​they use is not expensive, and the game industry itself has a great demand for art. In my previous company, art accounted for almost two-thirds of the total employees. The interviewer I met also told me that their AI can beat 6.5 people. In this way, AI is the most cost-effective choice for the current game industry.
Some people also think that AI will one day be eliminated in the game industry due to the homogeneity of its output content, but at least in my career, it should stay longer than me. The interviewer also told me that if AI is applied on a large scale, there may be a wave of layoffs at the end of the year.
After realizing that I might not only be laid off because of the company’s revenue, but also replaced by AI, I decided to get out of this industry first. Now I am doing sales in a foreign trade company, which has nothing to do with games, let alone art. Although I don’t plan to do this all the time, it’s just a buffer for the moment, but I feel pretty good now.
During the layoffs last year, many of the employees who left with me were 35-year-old employees. When I came to the sales industry, half of the employees were older than 35 years old. In the past, when I was doing UI, I was more like a screw. I listened to the needs and produced content mechanically. The work was more consuming, one radish and one hole. It seemed that I had nothing left after leaving that company. Now I have more autonomy in my work, discovering customers by myself, work is superimposed, resources and contacts are in my own hands.
I am still applying to schools, and if I have the opportunity, I want to go back to school, not to find a better job, but just to organize myself in the process. I still have an obsession with games, but right now I want to let go and let things go.

From drawing s by yourself to editing s for AI,

The fee has been reduced from 1500 yuan to 200 yuan

Turtle Turtle | 30 years old freelance illustrator in Guangzhou
I have been working as a freelance illustrator for 5 years, and the main content of my work is to provide outsourcing services for game art.
My technology is in the middle position in the industry, and I can make a living. Mainly doing Q version game beauty promotion, the fee is 3,000-7,000 yuan per piece, and will also make a gallery for some well-known IPs, the fee is about 20,000 to 30,000 yuan. I am a lazy person, and I will stop accepting 2 orders a month. On the one hand, I have enough money, and on the other hand, my time is limited.
Since February this year, Party A has used AI graphics one after another. A company we have cooperated with for more than a year asked us to make 60 in-game illustrations at the beginning, and the price was 1,500 yuan per piece. After I drew two s, the company ran through the AI ​​drawing internally. The original demand was changed from full hand-painting by the painter to their company using AI to produce s, and then let us make the unreasonable parts of the AI ​​s. Amended, the price has also changed from 1500 yuan/sheet to 300 yuan/sheet, because I have to share with the intermediary, and finally it is 200 yuan/sheet in my hands.
It was difficult for me to retouch AI s at first, but I also wanted to try to see how far I could go. Later, I found that it was not worth it. If I just draw by myself, I can finish drawing a in a week and earn 1,500 yuan. Now, even if the situation is better, it will take 2 days to edit the for AI, and I have to listen to Party A. It is meaningless to earn only 200 yuan if the request is modified.

For now, my order volume in the game beauty promotion area is almost halved, so I have to draw illustrations for other categories, and try to make up for my income.
In the second half of last year, AI painting became popular. At that time, many of our art practitioners were very disgusted with AI’s drawing. The logic of the was not strong, and it was very inconsistent to put it together. We could see a certain artist and a certain work in detail. shadow. Everyone felt that AI could only do so much for the time being, and it wasn’t something to be afraid of, so they didn’t take it seriously. But by the end of December last year, with the in-depth learning of AI, some AI drawing software, especially the two-dimensional aspect, has done very well. At present, the vast majority of middle-level painters are not as good as AI’s quality, because AI is fed with high-quality works. The works produced by AI are better than 70% of the painters.
At present, many companies have set up special AI testing groups internally, and are learning how to use AI to produce faster and better results.
AI can do this, which greatly saves manpower and material resources for capital. In the past, it took seven or eight people to produce a set of lightweight game art, and it might take about a month, and the cost was hundreds of thousands. Now using AI, it may be possible to finish it in a week at most, which immediately saves the cost.
The emergence of AI technology will not only affect the game industry, but also all art-related industries. It just depends on how fast the relevant companies respond. In order to reduce costs, e-commerce posters, newspapers and books are also gradually joining the ranks of AI drawing.
The progress of AI is calculated in days, not months. Whether it is an art practitioner, a writer, or a programmer, the things learned in the past ten years are depreciating rapidly.
Because of the birth of AI technology, I was forced to re-plan the direction of my future career. Although I didn’t find the exact point, I couldn’t do without learning and using AI and ChatGPT to complete some projects.
I always wanted to make my own comics before, but I used my spare time to do it. The progress was very slow and the details were not full. Because of the emergence of AI, I can use this technology to enrich and implement projects. The general direction of the future is to find a way to combine one’s own ideas with technology, instead of blindly resisting, resisting is useless.

The team has incorporated AI into the daily work of the original artist,

Worried that it will be included in the performance review next

DouDou | 29-year-old original painter in Guangzhou Dachang
I have been working as an original artist since I graduated from university. I have been in the industry for 7 years now, and I think I have gained a firm foothold in the industry by relying on my professional ability.
About October last year, I started to try the AI ​​painting tool Midjourney. At that time, I just thought it was very interesting and could provide inspiration for my work. However, no matter the effect or texture, I couldn’t compare with the more powerful painters. I used it for more than half a month. There is no further.
After returning to work after the Spring Festival holiday this year, many people around me began to try Stable Diffusion, and I also actively researched it, but the experience was similar to last year.
Until February, a plug-in based on Stable Diffusion, ControlNet, appeared, which introduced a new control method for the Vincent diagram function, which can additionally control the specific poses of characters, depth of field, coloring of line drawings, etc., and can control the more stably. We started using it around the beginning of March, and the whole team feels that an industry change is coming.
In my opinion, the use of this AI painting software can normally replace the work of a senior original artist, and many grassroots employees who have just entered the industry with relatively basic skills may be directly replaced.

However, it may be difficult to make such a simple and crude measurement in combination with the actual situation.
Take our team as an example, because the game industry has experienced the cold winter of the version number in 2018, the impact of the epidemic since 2020, and the current AI technology change, it can be said that it has encountered a “triple strike”. In the past few years, the industry has been in a downturn, and layoffs and eliminations have occurred from time to time. Almost everyone who is still working is carrying a lot of personal workload.
Although the AI ​​painting software is powerful now, it is not easy to use after getting the . It often needs to make a lot of adjustments in the later stage, and it still takes a lot of effort.
In addition, since I am in a large factory, the team size is relatively large, not as flexible as a small factory, and the impact of technological changes may be slower. From the perspective of leadership, how much AI painting can improve efficiency and how big a role it can play is actually still in a wait-and-see state, after all, we have only used it for less than a month.
I think that with the deepening of use, the company will incorporate the use of AI painting tools into the performance appraisal system in the next six months to one year.
In the recent wave of AI technology changes, the original artist can be said to be the first group to bear the brunt. My colleagues and friends have the same attitude, thinking that no one can guarantee that they will always have a unique advantage compared with AI, and they are likely to be eliminated. Many friends felt anxious about this, and they were discussing what they could do in the future when they changed careers during the meal.
I felt a little sudden when I felt the AI ​​painting ability was greatly improved at the beginning of March, but at the same time, I also observed that not only our industry will be impacted by AI, but the release of GPT-4 will also affect customer service, lawyers, etc. Occupation poses a threat. Thinking of this, I feel a little calm.

AI painting allows me to streamline the team and improve efficiency,
But it also threatens the company’s future
Canna Zheng Chujia, founder of Zhili Culture

23 years old | Shenzhen Web3 industry practitioner
Our company is mainly engaged in the IP development of NFT, and has a first-class 211 Academy of Fine Arts design team with more than 50 people.
Generally, a medium-sized project takes about two weeks. In the early stage, it is to determine the concept and prototype of the IP, and arrange 3-5 designers to create the prototype, which will take a week. After that, we need to refine the details of the characters, and finally use our 10,000-sheet PFP mix-and-match technology for further research and development. In the final step, more than a dozen designers may be used to participate in the PFP extension at the same time.
If AI painting is introduced, we can use AI to paint when planning the IP concept in the early stage, and make some preliminary finalization of the IP prototype. The original work of a week may be completed in two days, and may even give customers many cases to choose from. . Subsequent creation only needs to be modified on the prototype, which can be completed in about a week, basically improving the efficiency by 50%-60%.
At present, we have already used AI painting. I have reduced the number of members by about 20% this year, and I estimate that it will be reduced by 50% in the next year, because after AI painting is used, one person can be equivalent to 3-5 people, and there is no need for prototypes. designer too. One of our clothing design clients originally had more than 30 development teams. Some time ago, ten people were laid off, and the remaining people were required to learn AI painting within a week or two, otherwise they would continue to lay off people.

Although AI painting seems to make employees unemployed and let the boss improve efficiency and make more money, in fact, because of this, our company’s order volume is also decreasing. In the past few years, we have about seven or eight million yuan of intentional orders every year, and this year it is expected to decrease by 30%-40%.
Because many customers do not need to ask us to make prototypes, they may make them by using AI painting. We have reduced a lot of orders for prototypes in the early stage. Now many customers will directly ask us to do IP PFP and 3D model extension. Well, our technology is still competitive at present, because this part requires a large number of personnel to assist and adjust, including our IP ten thousand sheet extension technology + 3D batch mix and match rendering technology, which cannot be replaced by AI at present.
For me right now, the impact of AI is mixed. As a manager, it is indeed possible to reduce a lot of costs and save time, but the order volume has been greatly reduced. Even in the future, if AI has the capabilities behind us, I may not have any orders at all.
I think AI painting should have a great influence on practitioners who originally did game prototyping. There may be a bad situation in the future, that is, AI painting will cause a fault in the industry. Because there is less and less need for low-level designers in the industry, AI can do it, but a mature designer needs a lot of drafting in the early stage. If the industry does not need it, newcomers will not be able to enter and grow up.
AI needs a large number of original manuscripts to be “fed”. If there is no influx of newcomers, everyone will not create, there may be insufficient innovation, exhaustion of inspiration, insufficient divergence, people will lose their original creativity, and the development of the entire industry will also change. slow.
At present, in the face of AI painting, we are also actively doing some commercial exploration attempts. We have formed an “AI Explorer Alliance” team to recruit more designers who are interested in AI painting to communicate and discuss this technology together. , to test using AI painting to create a difference, hoping to have a new business model in the future. Maybe in the future, a studio with three people can accomplish what a team of dozens of people in a traditional company can do.
What designers can do is to actively embrace AI painting, make some creative paintings, and use AI painting to bring value to themselves or the company as much as possible. In addition, because some filling and other work can be handed over to AI, practitioners should focus on creative ideas rather than techniques in the future.

AI will only weed out those who don’t use it or oppose it
Chenchen | 31 years old Beijing product visual designer
I am mainly responsible for the product visual design of an Internet technology company. In early March, when I started using AI tools, my colleagues also began to discuss how much the new technology would impact the design industry and whether it would threaten their jobs.
The general conclusion is that designers cannot be replaced in a short time, but repetitive jobs will be replaced, and even most people will lose their jobs.
When I tried to use it for the first time, I felt that I might be replaced, because the things came out quickly and the color was not bad, but after using it many times, I felt that the current technology still needs to continue to iterate. Compared with people, the content it designed is still very basic, and I am a relatively rational person, and I will keep myself calm when encountering things, so when everyone is panicking, I am not overly anxious.
Although AI can come up with many solutions at one time, apart from speed, I have not researched what value AI can bring. Rather than saying whether AI can completely replace a certain type of work, it is better to say that everyone is testing it. to what extent.

I think AI will eliminate some people in the future, but only those who don’t use AI. For example, photographers must be able to use PS tools now, and those who cannot use them will be eliminated. In the future, the use of AI tools may also be included in everyone’s resume, so I think those who don’t know how to use or try to oppose the development of AI will be anxious.
AI can replace part of the work, in other words, improve efficiency, so it is more of a cost reduction and efficiency increase for most companies. It takes a long time for a designer to make a , but AI can produce a lot in one day. . But the claim that AI replaces humans is also a bit of an exaggeration. The company I work for does not clearly propose that every employee should study or use AI painting, but calls for trying to use it in combination with their own work.
At present, I don’t let AI get involved in my work. I always feel that machines can’t innovate. They can only learn and predict through existing samples and data. The works created by the human brain have vitality. In the future, only innovation can Is the foundation of growth, and talent is the source of all innovation.

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