Like almost everything under capitalism, ChatGPT too, serves an ideological function. Seen from such a functional perspective, an ideology needs to achieve at least three things: it needs to camouflage the contradictions of capitalism; it needs to stabilize domination; and, it needs to prevent emancipation. The current debate on artificial intelligence (AI) and, in particular on AI-based chatbot ChatGPT fulfills all three functions.
With the recent corporate media hype, AI and its evil twin, ChatGPT have been able to hide their deep ideological roles. At the same time, the importance of ChatGPT’s output has been hyped up by end of the world scenarios. The media puff about ChatGPT insinuates that it is to be taken seriously.
May it be the asphyxiation of society’s domination by corporate bosses or the often wheeled out threat to workers, corporate media have assured that capitalism is sustained. Virtually, the same applies to quasi-intelligent machines like ChatGPT. ChatGPT presents issues such as, for example, the labor market and the replacement of workers as normal features of life.
While replacing workers is presented as an eternal fact that AI does, AI is not replacing workers – corporate bosses do. As so often, it all comes despite the reality that, it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism.
In other words, ChatGPT may end the world (unlikely), but it will definitely not end capitalism – rather the opposite is the case. And here is why.
The shortage of skilled workers is a consequence of demographic changes, such as the aging of the population and the falling birth rate, and economic growth which leads to a higher demand for qualified workers. In addition, a lack of training places an inadequate adaptation of education systems making access to skilled workers more difficult. In order to combat the shortage of skilled workers, the following measures could be taken:
- Investing in vocational training and creating more training places;
- Adaptation of education systems to the needs of the economy;
- Promoting the immigration of qualified workers from abroad;
- Increasing the employment rate of older workers through incentives and raising the retirement age;
- Flexibility through adapted working hours and conditions in order to reconcile professional and family obligations;
- More attractive working environment and better pay;
- Making labor law more flexible and avoiding over-regulation;
- Increasing the birth rate through family friendliness.
While pretending to be an objective technology – an AI-machine – ChatGPT offered the almost entire list of standard neoliberal ideologies. It pretends that just like unemployment, the skill-shortage theme has nothing to do with the problems created by neoliberalism since the 1980s when it was made into the world’s predominant ideology.
Instead, the prevailing ideology – which is always the ideology of the ruling class – tells us that it isn’t capitalism but demographic change. This is followed by a smorgasbord of neoliberal ideas like:
- more investment into corporations;
- education that needs to be reduced to training to serve Capitalism, a Love Story!;
- the cruelty of capitalism means only “qualified workers” (as determined by bosses) can migrate – the rest is surplus or obsolete Menschenmaterial;
- almost self-evidently, neoliberal capitalism demands the continued exploitation of older workers, which is spiced up by raising the retirement age;
- neoliberal capitalism also continues its demand flexibility – that is the despotic flexibility corporations need and not necessarily the flexibility workers need;
- it also means the further de-regulation of labor laws where the deeply ideological term “de-regulation” actually means pro-business re-regulation; and finally,
- our neoliberal ChatGPT warns against “over-regulation” selling one of the key ideologies of neoliberalism.
The above shows that ChatGPT isn’t programmed for objectivity but rather for ideology. Under capitalism, this is no surprise for a tool created by a corporation. Its automated but highly ideological statements are sufficient to demonstrate the tainted character of ChatGPT on an otherwise rather innocent- looking issue.
Even for a ChatGPT-generated background article suitable for almost any professional journal, such a piece quickly expands rather deeply into the ideology of neoliberalism.
Virtually to nobody’s surprise, neoliberal ideology is generously provided by ChatGPT. Oblivious to any alternative, it offers one – TINA: there is no alternative – suggestion to counteract a shortage of personnel. Yet ChatGPT is quick to recommend corporate costs-saving initiatives – even the elimination of labor. Which, of course, comes in a manner appropriate to the neoliberalism.
The statements of ChatGPT weren’t marred by the fact that its database only lasted until September 2021. ChatGPT’s ideological broadcasting isn’t hindered by that.
Still, there is also a mal-administration done by ChatGPT that has not been taken up to a substantial extent. In other words, ChatGPT and its accompanying ideology plows on regardless. ChatGPT simply parrots the neoliberal complaints about a so-called “mismatch”in the labor market. These are published regularly by the corporate press.
Conceivably, the endless suffering caused by capitalism is just a problem of a little mismatch. ChatGPT parrots that – without understanding any of it. Despite its own inability to actually understand the role of labor under capitalism, ChatGPT camouflages this through its own self-disclosure statement,
- as an AI trained by OpenAI, I am neutral and have no personal preferences or opinions … my task is to provide accurate and objective information and answer what I am asked.
As expected, ideology is not stated as an ideology – which it never is. Instead, what is dished up is the hallucination of being ideology-free culminating in ChatGPT’s own statement of “I am neutral”. This is followed by the phantasm of “objective information”and carries connotations to Murdoch’s deeply ideological “fair and balanced” statement. Murdoch’s press and TV is neither fair nor balanced.
In order to illuminate the ideological character of ChatGPT, one might like to begin with Marx’s illuminations on ideology. Currently, the world is experiencing a phenomenon that Marx could not possibly have imagined when writing, the ruling ideas were always only the ideas of the ruling class.
Apparently, the recent development of capitalism’s productive forces has enabled an AI machine to repeat widespread and unanimous neoliberal belief-systemparticularly “for” opinion formers while presenting its ideology as neutral and objective information.
ChatGPT’s view starts by asserting the shortage of skilled workers on the labor market. What is not mentioned is that this is a market for labor that no longer sells workers! Yet, its structural problems are explained away as a mismatch between demography and the supply side of labor.
The ideology of a labor mismatch is then also sold as an issue of economic growth which determines demand. That such a mismatch is the outcome of the much-famed free market is never mentioned. Just as the structural asymmetries of the labor market that systematically disadvantages labor.
Deliberately created and sustained asymmetries are the imperatives of themlabor market. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that its two sides – capital and labor – are subject to deliberately created power asymmetries.
The hard truth is that all this doesn’t come from ChatGPT’s demographic facts, but from acorporate interest in maintaining a pro-business state of affairs that makes exploitable workers available – preferably inexpensively, and in vast quantities. Yet, this corporate interest also demands access to foreign populations and workers.
ChatGPT’s ideology even requires the – otherwise defamed – state to support such entrepreneurial endeavors. Despite the ideology of neoliberalism, corporations still demand state support. Often, these are smoke screened by the free market ideology.
Yet, capitalism’s economic basis remains focused on competitive successes which – necessarily – needs to be supported by pro-business state regulation. For one, money is one issue that is regulated by the state “for” capitalism. Without money, there is no capitalism.
These realities are often and rather ideologically sold as, “the free market is good and bureaucracy is bad” and as a de-regulation. Yet even the availability of labor needs to be regulated for capitalism.
This also applies to the recent influx of 8.2 million Ukrainians into Europe since 2020 – with many of whom are looking for work. As a consequence, the total percentage of foreign workers employed in the EU is on the rise.
Meanwhile, the number of employees who are fired by European companies, have been made redundant, quit out of their own decision, or want to escape precarious wage level goes into several millionseach year. It is, at least partly, from the migrant reservoir that the demand for labor and skilled workers in Europe is served.
Capitalism’s bitter irony is that the exchange value of those working has just been devalued by more profitable production methods such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, etc.
Overall, the outcomes of the pathological labor market remain unmentioned by ChatGPT. And so is the domination of capital over labor. All this forces “jobseekers”(!) to create employment opportunities on their own (sell your labor) while forcing workers to put up with devalued wages.
As a consequence of capitalism’s domination, the following professions with the largest shortage of skilled workers shows jobs linked to a structurally enforced (un)willingness to endure a low-paid job:
- Social work, childcare, age care, construction, healthcare, sanitary, heating and air conditioning mechanics, computer science, physiotherapy, car mechanics, and truck drivers.
At least half of these jobs are in the greatly deregulated (read: neoliberal) low-wage sector. Not surprisingly, the average length of employment in Europe’s “hard work for low pay”sector is rather short.
In other words, ChatGPT’s ideological broadcasting avoids testifying to the harmful absurdities of a market-driven economy. For example, ChatGPT does not show that capitalism constantly and often rather erratically re-organizes production and entire factories. And there is not a single word for firms that hire and fire workers according to the profit-maximization imperative.
More importantly, ChatGPT not just smokescreens capitalism’s rather regular crises, but at the same time, it eliminates any claim for a kind of more humane economy that could ease the pain of workers. In short, ChatGPT’s neoliberal ideology prevails.
ChatGPT has essentially listed how much doing business and sustaining capitalism depends on presenting the interest of the ruling class as the interest of workers. It is this capitalism-ideology interdependence that gives the entire affair the nimbus of being objective.
ChatGPT implies that workers have to bow to this – as a matter of course. In other words, ChatGPT advocates the cruelty of capitalism. Once, such a cruelty was pinpointed by the Greek philosopher Thucydides (400BC) when saying,
the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
It is ideologically legitimized by ChatGPT. For virtually all of this, neoliberal propaganda is bitterly needed as it eradicates nearly all alternative that could benefit the proletariat.
While individual companies depend on skilled workers and the system of capitalism does not provide them, capitalism offloads its own unwillingness to support education onto the state (social-democratic solution) or the individual (neoliberal solution).
Unmentioned by ChatGPT runs the cruel ideology of capitalism. This ideology segregates workers and migrants into two groups. There are migrants and refugees useful to capitalism and those seen as unwanted.
More importantly, what is useful and not so useful Menschenmaterial (literally: human material or human resources) is defined by capitalism. Even here, capitalism creates a two-class system.
In the end, a critical analysis of ChatGPT statements on a rather innocent sounding issues – skills, migration, and the labor market – shows that ChatGPT is anything but neutral. Nor does it provide objective information.
ChatGPT stabilizes capitalism while making sure that those dominated by capitalism do not rebel and accept capitalism’s very own reality as presented by ChatGPT.
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