A.I. will make having a lucrative side hustle or startup much easier, says Airbnb CEO

Wealth

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky isn’t afraid of artificial intelligence displacing jobs. In fact, he thinks it’ll create more of them — particularly in the world of entrepreneurship.

Since ChatGPT started gaining popularity last winter, tech icons from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban have admitted they’re worried that AI will replace human workers in just about every industry.

But they’re forgetting something, Chesky recently told the “This Week in Startups” podcast: We don’t even know what kinds of jobs it’ll create.

“It’s easier to imagine what jobs will be displaced than what jobs would be created,” Chesky said. “That [would] require us to conceive of what doesn’t exist.”

AI is already making Airbnb’s software engineers more efficient, Chesky said, with 30% of day-to-day tasks that could be handled by ChatGPT-like tools within the next six months. This doesn’t mean those engineers’ jobs necessarily are at risk, he said, arguing the saved time could allow them to focus on harder, more personalized projects.

Computer scientists aren’t the only potential beneficiaries, he said. As AI evolves, you’ll be able to tell chatbots in plain English what you want in a website and technology will build it for you, no coding languages required, the Airbnb CEO said.

“I think this is going to create millions of startups … entrepreneurship is going to be a boon,” Chesky said. “Anyone can essentially do the equivalent of what software engineering only allowed you to do five years ago.”

Chesky isn’t alone in thinking this way. AI is already helping people to earn more money in less time, RSE Ventures CEO Matt Higgins wrote for CNBC Make It last week. “AI can be a great tool for making money, and it sure as hell beats selling flowers on street corners,” he wrote.

This isn’t the first time people have worried about technology replacing human beings. The rise of computers and the internet certainly eliminated jobs, like typists and phone operators. It made other roles easier and created new opportunities, like website designers and content creators.

But the expansion of AI could still be a double-edged sword, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk told CNBC’s David Faber last month. For example, it might be hard to find your work fulfilling “if AI can do your job better than you can.”

Part of the trouble is that AI is moving too quickly for anyone to accurately forecast what its future may look like. If companies don’t adapt at a similar pace, they risk getting left behind, said Chesky.

“I’m concerned about how fast it’s going, and is society prepared for the speed,” he said. “But I think from a creative standpoint … you only have to be worried if you don’t want to be a part of it, because this is a creative tool for you. Computers are tools.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank,” which features Mark Cuban as a panelist.

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