Artificial intelligence and our future as professionals

Nowadays, we constantly find news or articles related to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Most of these seek to explain its advantages and offer us long lists of applications and web pages that will allow us to use AI to streamline all kinds of daily tasks and work activities, while others take the opportunity to remind us of the jobs that will probably disappear as a result of the accelerated advancement of this technology. 

Although many believe that AI is a recent topic, the truth is that it has been studied and developed for more than 70 years. What many users have not noticed is that AI has been among us for a long time and has practically invaded many aspects of our lives. From the facial recognition and voice assistant tools on our cell phones, to the content and ads we see on social media and the recommendations on streaming services, AI uses algorithms to "learn" our data, consumer habits, and even our preferences. 

At present, there are in fact many AI tools that help users from various business sectors to streamline processes, create and summarize content, and also to communicate better in their own language or in a foreign language in which they are not proficient. For example, we now have alternatives such as Notion or Grammarly to correct the grammar or style of texts in different languages, as well as Google Translate, Deeply, and even ChatGPT to translate texts with a level of accuracy that is very similar to that of a professional translator. 

In that sense, we should ask ourselves if AI will eventually replace most of the intellectual work of professionals. In the case of translators, my profession, it is inevitable to recognize that the role that we as language service providers play within the translation process will gradually change as neural machine translation (technology mainly used by Google, DeepL, and Bing) continues to evolve and provide increasingly fast, accurate, and inexpensive results. However, having a specialized expert with a strong linguistic and cultural background will continue to be necessary to confirm, correct, or refine the technical material produced by machine translation. This is why recent studies on this topic address the issue of respecting the "human in the loop". 

Given these dramatic changes in the professional translation field, many experts point out that, in this context, the position of "translator" may change its name to proofreader/reviser, AI-generated content editor, linguistic data analyst, or even “linguistic engineer”. Consequently, the professionals from all different fields should also rethink their processes, redefine their profiles, and adapt to new technologies since, after all, we are not competing with AI, but we are rather competing with other professionals and those who use AI better and more creatively will win.