It’s safe to say that the last few weeks and months have been a rollercoaster ride when it comes to AI powered chatbots.
The public launch of ChatGPT has ushered in a new era of AI that saw Google and Microsoft quickly follow with their own offerings. Google announced they were launching Bard, and OpenAI investors, Microsoft revealed their collaboration to upgrade its Bing search engine and Edge browser. But it’s not just the tech giants who are hooked, ChatGPT has made its way into everyday life, and music – international DJ, David Guetta, has said “the future of music is AI.”
However, it hasn’t all been positive, in recent weeks, things have taken a bit of a turn, notably the Bing chatbot having an existential breakdown of sorts and arguing with users when it was found to be lying. Alphabet Inc (Google’s parent company) has also seen shares plummet after Bard gave incorrect information and failed to impress at a company event.
There has been a lot of discussion about AI and the impact these recent developments will have personally and professionally, so we wanted to take the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of ChatGPT in a business setting.
What is ChatGPT?
I asked the AI chatbot that exact question and this is what it had to say:
“I am ChatGPT, a large language model created by OpenAI. I have been trained on a diverse range of texts from the internet and other sources using deep learning techniques, which enables me to generate human-like responses to a wide variety of questions and prompts. My purpose is to assist users in generating natural language text, answering questions, providing recommendations, and engaging in general conversation.”
Next question, what is a large language model?
“A large language model is a type of artificial intelligence model that is trained on vast amounts of natural language text data. These models are designed to generate human-like text and understand the nuances of language, allowing them to perform a variety of language-related tasks such as language translation, text summarization, and natural language generation.
“Large language models like ChatGPT are typically built using deep learning techniques, such as neural networks, and require massive amounts of computational power and data to train. They use complex algorithms to learn patterns and relationships within language data, which allows them to generate responses that are often difficult to distinguish from those written by humans.”
Pros of ChatGPT
Immediately, it’s easy to see how ChatGPT can be useful, what would have taken hours of research and probably a headache, I was able to use the tool to explain difficult concepts in an easy to consume manner. In this form, it is a tool that can be leveraged for greater efficiency and productivity. It can automate routine tasks, provide personalised customer service and it’s particularly beneficial for those in creative roles who spend a lot of time researching and creating content. It can provide valuable information on most topics (as long as there is enough data available on the internet); create engaging and SEO rich titles; or if you’re stuck on a problem or lacking inspiration, it can provide a starting point.
Take a specific software product like a customer service platform, integrating an AI-powered language model could provide 24/7 support, automate basic tasks, relieving pressure on staff and improving service satisfaction and lead generation.
But the benefits reach across many business departments and functions. I took the opportunity to ask the design and development teams at GCD to see what useful ways they have been using ChatGPT. Here are some of things they’ve been doing with the tool:
- Generated a shell script to do some text substitutions on a string
- Produced copy for a prototype rather than using Loren Ipsum
- Wrote a command line executable in TypeScript that takes an NDJSON file and posts each line to a REST API endpoint
- Quickly got up to speed in my basic knowledge of a certain industry/area
- A good starting place for UX research
- Created SEO blog post titles
- First draft of validation schemas
- It suggested methods to help me resolve an issue with an app build
Cons of ChatGPT
It’s important to be aware of the cons of ChatGPT or any other AI chatbot; the biggest of which being, they can not be used as a single source of truth. The technology is still in its infancy and, at the time of writing (February 2023), it is restricted to content from the internet as it was in 2021. As we all know, the internet is a web of misinformation, so taking its answers as fact is a big no-no. Using an AI chatbot like ChatGPT requires you to have a good grasp of what you want it to answer but also to be able to interrogate the results.
Its dependence on data is a drawback, if there is little or no information available, then its response is hindered.
ChatGPT is designed to understand natural language and respond in a similar manner, but there are limitations; it doesn’t necessarily understand the nuances of conversation, which can lead to misunderstandings or unsatisfactory results. In some customer service settings it may not be appropriate to use an AI chatbot, particularly if emotional support is required.
There are the ethical concerns and the potential misuse of AI language models. As they use information available on the internet, this can be biased or discriminatory, responses could be based on this information and potentially offend or upset customers. Even from a research perspective, it requires all content to be carefully scrutinised.
Because it uses huge amounts of data in its training, including text data from sources that contain personal information, such as social media posts or other publicly available information, there are concerns over the use of that personal information, recently, ChatGPT provided a journalists telephone number in a response.
There is no doubt that ChatGPT presents a new frontier for businesses, which can be scary or seen as a threat. But in reality, it has huge potential if it’s used in a positive way. The question every business should ask itself is, how can we leverage ChatGPT (or whichever AI chatbot becomes the next flavour) to provide better value for our customers and for our business?
It can be a brilliant tool to increase efficiency through the automation of routine tasks; it can reduce blockers in a business by enabling staff to access information that would otherwise be difficult or time-consuming to obtain. It can reduce lengthy processes, such as research and provide inspiration for creative tasks.
It does have its cons and should always be used with an element of caution and fact checking, but ultimately, if it is used mindfully, ChatGPT is an enablement tool that can provide huge benefits for businesses.