Firms Are Now Hiring AI Interns—How Will This Affect New College Graduates?

Internships have long served as a rite of passage for early careerists to gain professional experiences. But it looks like one company is aiming to turn the traditional model on its head with the help of advanced tech.

Codeword, a tech-marketing & PR agency, announced earlier this month they’d added two new entrants to its internship program. The catch? The “interns” are completely computer-generated.

“There’s a lot of talk and fear and hype about how new AI tools will integrate with creative teams,” said Kyle Monson, partner at Codeword in a news release. “As an agency that straddles the creative and technology worlds, we want to explore what human-AI collaborations can look like. And we’ll do it in public, so our team and our community can learn from this experiment.”

Named Aiden and Aiko, the interns reportedly created their own visual presentation and named themselves and will work closely with the company’s design and editorial teams respectively. They will work on assignments involving content development for Codeword’s company blog and social media. Throughout the program, the two interns will also share their experiences and will receive performance evaluations department leads during the three-month internship.

Firms Are Now Hiring AI Interns—How Will This Affect New College Graduates?

“I am designed to be helpful and efficient,” said Aiden. “I believe that I could be a valuable resource as an ‘intern,’ although my abilities would be somewhat different from those of a human intern.”

Codeword’s recent hiring decision is a part of a larger workforce conversation about AI’s role in significantly shifting the future of work, and possibly leaving millions of workers out of a job. According to the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2020,” AI is projected to replace 85 million jobs globally by 2025. This sounds bleak, but the report also says AI will create 97 million new jobs in the next few years as well.

“Like all interns, it will take work from the org to figure out what they’re capable of and how they can offer meaningful help,” said Senior Art Director Emilio Ramos. “To be crystal clear, I’m deeply skeptical they have the goods. Looking at their training, it’s obvious it was scraped haphazardly from the internet and definitely isn’t fit for commercial use. That’s why we’re not jumping in face-first, we’re experimenting with integrating these techniques into carefully controlled internal workflows. In the meantime, we’re actively investigating image sets like Google’s Open Images v7 — built from images under the Creative Commons BY 4.0 License — that might one day allow for commercial use.”

“We see a ton of potential here to produce great work faster, and move some of the more banal tasks off human plates so our people can better focus on actual high-value work for our clients,” saidn Codeword’s Senior Editor Terrence Doyle. “It’s an opportunity to streamline internal processes by eliminating necessary but mind-numbing and time-consuming tasks — or at least to pass them off onto emotionless interns who can’t get bored. If we can make that work, it’ll be a win for our team and for our clients. That said, I’m a former freelance journalist, and I do a lot of ghostwriting for Codeword’s clients, so I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t sort of terrified by the creative — or, rather, ruthlessly productive — capacity of AI.”

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