The last few months have sometimes felt like a honeymoon phase for humans and artificial intelligence (AI). It seems like overnight, individuals worldwide began exploring and sharing their experiences with popular AI tools, like OpenAI's ChatGPT or Google's Bard, with family and friends along social media channels—with the OpenAI technology surpassing 1 million users within its first five days.
In 2023, businesses have begun chomping at the bit to test, implement and adopt AI to increase efficiency and produce work faster. However, much like social media platforms that first permeated society in the late 2000s and early 2010s, in 10 years, our excitement surrounding this technology may be accompanied by debates over the sociological and psychological implications of its use. While it's unclear at this time whether the software will have the same level of impact that social media has had, it's important for business leaders to consider how AI technology could impact an employee's mental availability or ability to connect to and feel purpose from their work.
To avoid potential fallouts, business leaders must evenly weigh the pros and cons of AI platforms.
By now, many people know that platforms like ChatGPT are natural language processing (NLP) tools that can comprehend and generate human language based on content prompts. The ability to harness computing software with such power has business leaders the world over considering what's possible in terms of its potential uses.
We have already begun to see some of the benefits of AI in business operations, helping to reduce workloads and improve productivity. Tools like ChatGPT unlock these potentials for content-facing business operations. So, what can the technology do for a company?
• Revolutionize the chatbot customer experience: The NLP technology can be integrated into customer relationship software to dissect customer inquiries, search an expansive database for solutions and relay information in an engaging, quasi-human conversation.
• Streamline content creation: AI can create realistic, on-topic blogs, articles, email copy and even scripts from simple prompts quickly—stealing many of the headlines regarding the software. In case you’re thinking it, I did write this article.
The potential cost savings, the increased operational efficiency and the time to market are prominent with a free AI content generator. However, business leaders must fully grasp the limitations before implementing the technology into operations.
The GPT in ChatGPT stands for generative pretrained transformer. The keyword there is pretrained, meaning the technology is prepopulated with enormous amounts of data. The wealth of information stored within ChatGPT is a culmination of data from 2020 and 2021. So, while ChatGPT can develop a structurally sound thesis on an Emily Dickenson novel, the technology can only provide already formulated viewpoints and hypotheses.
The same is true for coding. ChatGPT’s limited accessibility to prepopulated code reduces its ability to create new code or improve upon architecture—increasing the likelihood of buggy, underperforming results.
ChatGPT also has no way to check if the content it produces is factual, although some improvements have been made with GPT-4. If someone developed a parody synopsis of an Emily Dickenson novel, the technology has no way of differentiating the content and could unwittingly provide false or misleading claims to content—further exacerbating the spread of misinformation while opening the door to plagiarism. This is by far one of the top concerns for the use of such a technology.
Finally, I've noticed we are very much in the dark regarding the type of conversational or language errors these AI tools can generate. Business leaders looking to implement the technology into customer-facing communications programs must proceed cautiously.
The technology’s inability to create new thinking closes the door on AI creating groundbreaking thought leadership content or being a driver for anything other than incremental innovation (which is still hugely valuable). In other words, it could stunt operational creativity and employee growth and interfere with the desire to embed a continuous innovation mindset that results in performance that matters in the workplace.
An employer’s initial reaction may be to only use AI tools for tedious content tasks and creation, like copyediting or boilerplate production; however, I believe there are some nuances when defining the creative process.
For example, does removing a junior writer or content creator's opportunity to create from a blank canvas dull the creative receptors? Without question, a writer will create several unoriginal articles before developing a thought-provoking original piece. But is streamlining content through the use of AI intervention time wasted or a key to a better creative approach? Many writers would argue the latter.
The ebbs and flows of AI and platforms like ChatGPT mean business leaders must find ways to synchronize the software into operations without stunting creative workflow. With the careful implementation of AI, which considers the human-machine relationship throughout adoption, businesses can align technologies with the development of their employees—ensuring one hand washes the other at all times.