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ChatGPT: Goodbye, busywork (well, most of it)

Jarrod Luker
3D chatbot imagery on phone

ChatGPT and similar technologies are based on the concept of natural language processing (NLP), which is a branch of artificial intelligence that focuses on the ability of machines to understand and generate human language. NLP has a long history, with roots dating back to the 1950s and early attempts at machine translation. In the decades since, the field has continued to evolve and advance, leading to the development of increasingly sophisticated language processing systems.

One of the key breakthroughs in NLP came with the advent of deep learning, a type of machine learning that involves training artificial neural networks on large amounts of data. This allowed for the creation of powerful language models, such as GPT-3, that are capable of understanding and generating human-like text. ChatGPT is a variant of GPT-3 that is specifically designed for use in chatbots and other conversational applications.

Overall, the development of ChatGPT and similar technologies represents a significant advance in the field of NLP and has the potential to improve many aspects of our daily lives.

All the right notes, but are they in the right order?

As introspection goes, that opener isn’t bad for an AI application, right? We put the tool to the test and asked it to write our intro here. When you ask a tool like ChatGPT about itself, it’ll hardly come as a surprise when it boasts about its own potential, and there’s no denying it’s there.

OpenAI’s Microsoft-backed technology is on the lips and at the fingertips of business leaders all over the world. It’s delivering on what AI, ML and NLP have previously fallen short of as independent technologies, with practical applications in everything from software engineering to responding to RFPs.

From a business perspective, the amount of time it can save is astounding. For instance, when it comes to writing code, many are already saving significant amounts of time and the accuracy is there too.

As with most new, foundation-shaking technologies ChatGPT undoubtedly has the potential to disrupt entire industries and even change the world, but it should be approached with full awareness and relative caution.

The limitations of a limitless tool

Sure, the potential is palpable for ChatGPT, but there’s always a certain degree of trepidation involved when a new tool is regarded as a solution. A tool alone cannot solve a business problem—it must be leveraged as part of a wider solution and not leaned on as the panacea itself.

ChatGPT makes the likes of content creation and software development much easier, but its capacity is limited. It can’t replace real human talent because it can’t apply context or emotion. It can, however, augment talent by automating the process of writing some code and producing something for developers to check and refine. It makes the process of solving a business problem easier, but it doesn’t solve the business problem in one fell swoop.

One of the main drawbacks of ChatGPT at this early stage is one of the main drawbacks of most other AI tools to date: bias. It can only ever be as good as the knowledge base it’s given, so it’s certainly susceptible to an ethical gaffe or two as things stand. Of course, the tool’s moral compass is on OpenAI’s WIP list, so you can expect that to improve as ChatGPT grows and user feedback mounts.

As a technology, it’s well-established, but as a tool, it’s still in its infancy. Co-founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based research firm, Sam Altman, was quick to reiterate its limitations on the back of a boom in popularity in December 2022:

3D chatbot imagery on phone

This hammers home the point that businesses should use a tool like ChatGPT not to replace talent, but rather to empower it to achieve better outcomes.

A Google-esque glimpse of the future

Even in its relatively primitive and somewhat flawed form, OpenAI’s new chatbot can demonstrate the power of taking the time to do things well with the right combination of technology and people. It allows highly skilled people to focus on the creative, value-adding aspects of their roles by doing the digital legwork for them. It writes, it crafts and it creates, but only if it is fed robust and reliable data from which to draw its results.

That level of optimization will take time, especially when it comes to solving complex business problems, but the tool is touted to revolutionize the way we go about our jobs and, indeed, our daily lives in a Google-like manner.
3D chatbot imagery on phone

It’s a watch-this-space kind of moment for leaders across all industries and functions. By embracing ChatGPT with cautious enthusiasm and, crucially, coupling it with human expertise, businesses could soon be relishing the outcomes it enables for a wide range of services, products and experiences.

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