This week: the AI whisperer, AI artist managers, data detectives, metaverse supply chain strategy consultants, and more cool jobs in the digital era.

Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Futures Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

05:00 – Of AI whisperers and prompt engineers…

World’s first raspberry picking robot

Our previous conversation on fruit picking robots on The Future, This Week

Hackers caused a massive traffic jam in Moscow using a ride-hailing app

Amazon’s putting a three-day pause on reviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Our previous conversation on The Future, This Week of AI art winning an art competition

Our previous conversations about DALL-E and GPT-3 including an AI-written op-ed, Microsoft’s exclusive license for GPT-3, and the use of public data in AI models

Prompt Marketplace

DALL-E 2

GPT-3

Anna Lytical, the sickeningly entertaining and educational coding drag queen on TikTok

Jobs from the future including AI whisperer, AI artist manager, data detective, ethical sourcing officer, AI fashion designer, influencer verifier, happiness engineer, infant elder carer, metaverse supply chain strategy consultant, tokenomics lead, web3 smart contract and solidity engineer

Weird old jobs that no longer exist

Human computers on The Unlearn Project

DISRUPT.SYDNEY™ 2022!

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DISRUPT.SYDNEY is Australia’s premier disruption conference from the Digital Futures Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School.

The expert speakers will tackle these topics from a diverse range of angles (view the full program).

With keynotes, short talks, Q&A panels, workshops – DISRUPT.SYDNEY 2022 is going to be bigger and bolder than ever!

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Disclaimer We'd like to advise that the following program may contain real news occasional philosophy and ideas that may offend some listeners.

Sandra Today we're gonna chat about new jobs of the digital age.

Kai What is an AI whisperer?

Sandra Or an AI artist manager?

Kai An influencer verifier?

Sandra A happiness engineer? A Metaverse Supply Chain Strategy Consultant?

Kai There's a whole bunch of new jobs.

Sandra Tokenomics lead, Web3 Smart Contract and Solidity Engineer.

Kai It's a weird place out there in the digital world.

Sandra Let's do this.

Kai Let's do this.

Intro From The University of Sydney Business School, this is Sydney Business Insights, an initiative that explores the future of business. And you're listening to The Future, This Week, where Sandra, Peter and Kai Riemer sit down every week to rethink trends in technology and business.

Kai Before we talk about these weird new jobs for humans, we have to talk about robots. There's an update on a story we've done a couple of times actually, and that is berry-picking robots.

Sandra Is this that robot that like a few years ago was squashing strawberries and not managing to do...?

Kai Yeah, exactly. In 2018 we had a story where robots were really bad at picking berries, because they're too delicate. These ones were still squashing strawberries while trying to pick them.

Sandra And it didn't look like much back then, did it? It looked like it would be a long way to make a robot that could actually pick really delicate fruit, and strawberries were the example, but any types of berries. And that seemed to be like the Holy Grail of agriculture robots that would pick very delicate things.

Kai Yeah, and in 2019 we reported a story in The Guardian of a raspberry robot prototype, and it was said then that these would be deployed eventually and they'd be really good at picking lots and lots of raspberries. But it was still early days. But just now this week, another story in The Guardian reports that these particular robots have actually made their way into the field, and they are actually picking raspberries at a considerable rate. Now, the company deploying them makes it clear that these are not the robots coming for our jobs, because they're actually addressing a job shortage. We've had Brexit, these ones are deployed in the UK, and these robots address an acute shortage in harvest workers in pickers who would ordinarily pick those raspberries.

Sandra And we've got a job shortage here in Australia as well. So maybe a solution to help out with some of our job shortages.

Kai Yeah. And at this time, they are still lagging behind humans in the amount of fruit that they can pick in a shift. They're picking about one kilo of fruit per hour, but the company is set to ramp this up to four kilos an hour, meaning that they would eventually pick about 25,000 raspberries a day, compared with a human who can do about 15,000.

Sandra In other tech news, hackers caused a massive traffic jam in Moscow. They ordered dozens and dozens of taxes to this one location using a ride hailing app that's available in Moscow, called Yandex Taxi. And they ordered all these taxis to the one location causing a huge traffic jam.

Kai How did they do it?

Sandra They simply ordered, like bulk ordered, Yandex Taxis to this particular location. The attacks so far seems to be playing by the group Anonymous, which is loosely associated with the IT Army of Ukraine, hacktivists that try to disrupt things, and they seem to have done a pretty good job because Moscow is already known for really, really bad traffic. Last year it was, I think, the world's second most congested city. And the incident wasn't picked up by the algorithm that Yandex would have for picking up any type of fraudulent behaviour on the platform. So people just ordered dozens and dozens of taxis to this one location. And speaking of algorithms and hijacking algorithms, in similar news, Amazon's putting a three day pause on reviews for the new Lord of the Rings, The Rings of Power, because they're afraid that bots or trolling or hijacking attacks will happen in an attempt to bomb Amazon with fake reviews.

Kai Good ones or bad ones. So they basically trying to embargo reviews to you know, give humans a chance to get in there. So robots are coming for our berries, robots are coming for our reviews, and robots are coming to disrupt our streets. But the story that we have this week is about humans working with robots, whispering to the robots, the AI whisperer.

Sandra So the story today comes from The Verge, it's titled, "Professional AI Whisperers Have Launched a Marketplace for DALL-E Prompts", where AI art is not just an experiment anymore, it's a side hustle according to the article. And if you're like us at this point going, 'What the hell's an AI whisperer, and why is there a marketplace for prompts?' Or even, 'And what is DALL-E anyway?' Well, let us tell you. Remember last week we had that story about an AI-generated artwork that had won first place at a State Fair arts competition where one artist used a prompt to have a digitally-generated painting?

Kai A space opera or something. Yeah, I remember that. And also, we were wondering at the time, why the artists wouldn't disclose the keywords, what's called the prompt, that he put into the, in that case Midjourney, AI algorithm to generate the picture. And that actually becomes a little bit clearer now with this story.

Sandra So DALL-E and Midjourney, but Open AI's DALL-E which we spoke about previously on the podcast, and we'll put links in the shownotes. These are AI algorithms that offer an interface where someone can pretty much input a text prompt, say...

Kai Generate a surfing racoon near the Sydney Opera House...

Sandra In the style of Van Gogh.

Kai Yeah, so for instance, yeah.

Sandra But these algorithms take a text prompt and transform it into a picture. And the two of us have been playing with DALL-E to generate really fun stuff. And we'll include some links in the shownotes.

Kai But we know from experience from you know, bad experience that not every agglomeration of words will create something really pretty or useful or visually appealing. So there seems to be an art to how you combine words, how you tell the algorithm to create something truly spectacular.

Sandra Enter the professional AI whispers or the prompt engineers. And these are people who try out various text descriptions figure out what ones would reliably produce things of a certain kind that are, you know, visually appealing, or useful for websites or for selling products or for advertising. And then sell those text descriptions on a platform called PromptBase. You basically go to PromptBase, you can for two or $3, you can buy a string of words that you can then input into Midjourney, or DALL-E or another system that you might have access to, and consistently generate useful types of things.

Kai And these prompts are typically formulated in a general type of way that lets you replace certain variables with more specific keywords, such as you found one that shows animals doing office work, and so you can then put the name of the animal in there, and the type of office work and it will generate something that is more specific to how you would use that particular prompt.

Sandra But there's lots of interesting ones. There's categories in which you can find prompts to generate 3d future buildings, or product shots, or T shirt product shots, or pro pet portraits, or even things like black metallic icons, or any kind of emojis or lettered logos or beautiful, photorealistic portraits of people or animals, and so on. So the people who make these prompts and sell them are now called Prompt Engineers, or AI whisperers. And that's just one of the new jobs that we've been looking at. And we have a whole trove of them.

Kai And some of them actually have to do with DALL-E, there's the AI fashion designer, for example, who uses particular prompts for DALL-E to create new fashion, and the t shirt product prompt points to that. So you can use this to create new T shirts with certain, you know, artwork on it that you can actually then go and print.

Sandra Or there's AI ghost writers who use GPT-3 to embellish sentences or create dialogue or things like that.

Kai Or help create, for example, dating site profiles for people, that are particularly colourful and engaging.

Sandra But before we get to all these new fun jobs, and we did go down that rabbit hole and it is a deep and dark rabbit hole. But before we go there, let's talk a bit about the platforms that have started to enable these types of jobs.

Kai So DALL-E, Midjourney, GPT-3, these AI systems are also called foundational models. And they're called foundational models because on the one hand, they are very big, they are created from billions of data points, either pictures or texts and they are capable to support a whole range of different tasks. So GPT-3 can be used to support the writing of computer code, of journalistic texts, or fiction, of more structured text, as in, say, stock market reporting. And therefore they call it foundational models. So they become a platform, an infrastructure for doing all kinds of different things.

Sandra So the AI whisperer might signal the beginning of a whole range of business ideas that grow on the back of this, we've seen AI-generated art, we're seeing AI-generated advertising, we're seeing forays into fashion, into journalism, into creative writing, that are all built on top of foundational models like GPT-3, or DALL-E or Midjourney.

Kai So potentially the emergence of an ecosystem for new businesses and also for new jobs. And that's what happens all the time in the digital space, new services come up, people figure out innovative, weird new ways of using a service or they're exploiting the way different services interact. And they come up with these new business ideas and these new types of work and jobs. And we've dug into this rabbit hole, and we just want to share a few of those weird jobs with you.

Sandra We've already talked on the podcast about jobs built on top of other infrastructure platforms. So for instance, we talked about TikTok, and we talked about Anna Lytical.

Kai Yeah, who was teaching STEM subjects, like data structures, dressed in drag.

Sandra And we'll put links in the shownotes to some really fun TikTok videos where you can actually learn coding using, you know, things like organising your makeup bag.

Kai To, you know, discuss data structures.

Sandra Similarly, we've discussed finfluencers, who were teaching finance on YouTube.

Kai Fine line between spruiking stuff and actual education, and we'll put the episode in the shownotes.

Sandra But there seems to be a whole ecosystem of new jobs around influencers, including things like an influencer advisor, or an influencer verifier.

Kai What do they do?

Sandra

Well on Instagram, or on Twitter, what you want is to have a tick, a badge, a verification that you are the real deal, and these people basically help you get that coveted blue tick, which is really difficult in some cases to obtain.

Kai Because sometimes you need to be a musician, for example. And so these people help wannabe influencers to become as much of a musician as you need to be to get that coveted verified user tick. So they are basically helping influencers get verified on these platforms, which obviously is very good for business of being an influencer.

Sandra And these are quite lucrative jobs. Apparently, for getting verified on some of these platforms, including Twitter and Instagram and Spotify, some people are willing to pay up to five figures to get verified. Quite a lucrative job.

Kai But there's other ecosystems that come up with new job ideas, new job titles. There's the crypto world, we've seen a Tokenomics Lead being advertised, a person who is knowledgeable in creating new tokens, taking businesses into the crypto world, creating new coin offerings. So basically roles that help businesses set up their own footprint in the emerging Web3 world.

Sandra Some of these jobs are also more technical. For instance, a Web3 Smart Contract or Solidity Engineer, who can help advise companies on how to create or expand or maintain smart contract systems, and they're quite well paying jobs as well.

Kai Or ecosystems such as the emerging world of the metaverse. We've seen the Metaverse Supply Chain Strategy Consultant advertised by consulting firm Accenture.

Sandra So these will be jobs that will help organisations, or individuals, figure out how to create a presence, or take advantage of, or build a business, in the metaverse.

Kai We've also seen roles like real estate agents in the metaverse, there's these virtual worlds where part of these worlds, much like lots or plots in the real world, are being auctioned off as virtual real estate that are then traded or used as NFTs. So they are now agents that will help clients find the best digital plot to set up their footprint, where brands for example, want to open a shopfront in the metaverse or where individuals want to set up camp in the metaverse to, you know, maybe build a place to hang their NFT artwork that they bought from another new job role, the NFT artists or the NFT art broker.

Sandra Some of the jobs, though are quite human, even in this digitally-infused world, things like happiness engineers have sprung up whose job is basically to surprise or delight customers in whatever brand or service they're using.

Kai Ooh and speaking of happiness, there was a story in The New York Times just this week, about a particular kind of child labour.

Sandra Child labour?

Kai Yeah, this is...

Sandra Everyone's getting new jobs?

Kai Yes, even very small children. Toddlers in Japan are working in nursing homes to entertain and give hugs and cuddles to the elderly to spread happiness, basically.

Sandra Much like very small chief happiness officers, right?

Kai Very, very small chief happiness officers.

Sandra They'll grow out of their jobs quite literally. So their jobs are gonna be very, very short-lived.

Kai I don't think they can be in this job for a decade, I don’t think teenagers hugging the elderly has quite the same effect.

Sandra Now seriously, the same is happening in the digital space as well. Many of these jobs might be short-lived in periods where we still are figuring out the technology and its range, and figuring out how we either help it along or exploit certain loopholes that it has.

Kai So the AI whisperer, that's a thing right now, but soon enough, people might figure out the formula. And there might be more automation on top of that. So someone might build an IT tool for, you know, prompt generation, automating the person who works with the automation. So it becomes very meta. But the point is that some of these jobs are more transitional.

Sandra And that's always been the case, right? Because we've spoken on The Unlearn Project about computers, who used to be women.

Kai People, yeah.

Sandra People, mostly women doing this job. And again, we'll put the links in the shownotes. And now computing is pretty much everywhere. But all throughout history there were, you know, before we had podcasts, we had lectors, right? These people who used to read the news and literature and things to factory workers out of a pulpit, right? Back in the 20s and the 30s.

Kai Really?!

Sandra Back in the day.

Kai The human podcast shouter over a busy factory floor.

Sandra Exactly. Or, you know, the famous knocker uppers.

Kai The people who would go to knock on people's door as the wakeup call.

Sandra Actually they used to throw piece at people's windows to wake them up.

Kai An olden day, Siri basically, or Alexa, waking people up,

Sandra Or badgers who were like the days Amazon, they would take the goods from farmers and bring it to the market sell it to the customer. So early, Amazon was badgers.

Kai And before Candy Crush, there were the pinsetters, the people working in bowling alleys, setting the pins manually, you know for bowlers to the knock them over.

Sandra And these all disappeared, right they went the way of the leech collector and the milkman and the ice cutter.

Kai But this is as far as we're going to take you down the rabbit hole today.

Sandra Because really, that's all we have time for. Thanks for listening.

Kai Thanks for listening.

Outro You've been listening to The Future, This Week from The University of Sydney Business School. Sandra Peter is the Director of Sydney Business Insights and Kai Riemer is Professor of Information Technology and Organisation. Connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and WeChat, and follow, like, or leave us a rating wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any weird or wonderful topics for us to discuss, send them to sbi@sydney.edu.au.

Sandra In other tech news....

Kai That one's a good one.

Sandra How to you know what I'm gonna talk about?

Kai Okay, sorry. Okay. I'm sorry, I read stuff too.

Sandra In other tech news, that's a good one.

Kai There's your Easter egg.

Kai Yes, even very small children. Toddlers in Japan are working in nursing homes to entertain and give hugs and cuddles to the elderly to spread happiness, basically.

Sandra Much like very small chief happiness officers, right?

Kai Very, very small chief happiness officers.

Sandra They'll grow out of their jobs quite literally. So their jobs are gonna be very, very short-lived.

Kai I don't think they can be in this job for a decade, I don’t think teenagers hugging the elderly has quite the same effect.

Sandra Now seriously, the same is happening in the digital space as well. Many of these jobs might be short-lived in periods where we still are figuring out the technology and its range, and figuring out how we either help it along or exploit certain loopholes that it has.

Kai So the AI whisperer, that's a thing right now, but soon enough, people might figure out the formula. And there might be more automation on top of that. So someone might build an IT tool for, you know, prompt generation, automating the person who works with the automation. So it becomes very meta. But the point is that some of these jobs are more transitional.

Sandra And that's always been the case, right? Because we've spoken on The Unlearn Project about computers, who used to be women.

Kai People, yeah.

Sandra People, mostly women doing this job. And again, we'll put the links in the shownotes. And now computing is pretty much everywhere. But all throughout history there were, you know, before we had podcasts, we had lectors, right? These people who used to read the news and literature and things to factory workers out of a pulpit, right? Back in the 20s and the 30s.

Kai Really?!

Sandra Back in the day.

Kai The human podcast shouter over a busy factory floor.

Sandra Exactly. Or, you know, the famous knocker uppers.

Kai The people who would go to knock on people's door as the wakeup call.

Sandra Actually they used to throw piece at people's windows to wake them up.

Kai An olden day, Siri basically, or Alexa, waking people up,

Sandra Or badgers who were like the days Amazon, they would take the goods from farmers and bring it to the market sell it to the customer. So early, Amazon was badgers.

Kai And before Candy Crush, there were the pinsetters, the people working in bowling alleys, setting the pins manually, you know for bowlers to the knock them over.

Sandra And these all disappeared, right they went the way of the leech collector and the milkman and the ice cutter.

Kai But this is as far as we're going to take you down the rabbit hole today.

Sandra Because really, that's all we have time for. Thanks for listening.

Kai Thanks for listening.

Outro You've been listening to The Future, This Week from The University of Sydney Business School. Sandra Peter is the Director of Sydney Business Insights and Kai Riemer is Professor of Information Technology and Organisation. Connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and WeChat, and follow, like, or leave us a rating wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any weird or wonderful topics for us to discuss, send them to sbi@sydney.edu.au.

Sandra In other tech news....

Kai That one's a good one.

Sandra How to you know what I'm gonna talk about?

Kai Okay, sorry. Okay. I'm sorry, I read stuff too.

Sandra In other tech news, that's a good one.

Kai There's your Easter egg.

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