ChatGPT is helping some workers secretly hold multiple full-time jobs at once.
What’s new: Workers are using OpenAI’s chatbot to boost their productivity so they can earn separate paychecks from a number of employers, each of whom believes they are exclusive employees, Vice reported.
What they said: Several of these so-called “overemployed” people stated that, although their jobs require a degree of human expertise, ChatGPT enables them to accomplish more in less time. They spoke anonymously to avoid revealing the ruse.
- One product manager and software engineer who holds two jobs (down from four at the height of the pandemic) said ChatGPT produces text and code with few errors, which he can fix easily.
- A financial analyst who holds three positions uses ChatGPT to automate coding Microsoft Excel macros.
- A university lecturer uses ChatGPT to automate up to 80 percent of writing tasks for one of his two side businesses. It has helped him compose spreadsheets, blog posts, business plans, and a successful grant application.
- A person who holds multiple data analytics and marketing positions uses the bot to draft advertising copy and blog posts. He said that ChatGPT cuts the time required to write a blog post from three hours to 45 minutes.
Behind the news: A March 2023 paper by two MIT economists reported that writers who used ChatGPT were 37 percent faster than those who did not.
Why it matters: This practice illustrates the real productivity gains conferred by large language models. Moreover, in a typical corporate environment, managers decide which tools workers will use and how. The “overemployed” community turns that practice on its head, using AI to boost productivity from the bottom up.
We’re thinking: It's discouraging to see people using AI to deceive employers who could benefit from the productivity gains. Beyond the ethical problems, the use of generative AI without informing employers could lead to legal questions in areas like ownership of intellectual property. Yes, let’s use these tools to be more productive, but let’s do it in honest and ethical ways.