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Opinion: Latest chatbot may disrupt every business sector

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The revolution is here – sooner than many expected.

Families will lose livelihoods as work and life as we know it is transformed.  This revolution will reshape society and may even threaten our lives; no one can be assured of complete immunity. My fellow humans, the robot revolution has arrived.

The vanguard of these robot elites is the latest in a line of artificial intelligence models known as ChatGPT, and it’s what AI experts call a natural language processing model. What is an NLP? I asked ChatGPT to see if it could explain itself to me. Here’s what it wrote back:

“A natural language processing (NLP) model is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that is designed to process and understand human language. NLP models are used in a wide range of applications, including language translation, text classification, sentiment analysis, and text generation.

“NLP models are trained on large datasets of human language and use machine learning algorithms to analyze and understand the patterns and structures of language. NLP models can be used to perform tasks such as language translation, summarization, and question answering. Is there anything else you would like to know about NLP models?”

ChatGPT was released Nov. 30, 2022, as a free research prototype by AI research lab OpenAI. According to the company’s website, OpenAI was founded in 2015 by a group of researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

However, the specifics of this AI model and its creator are less important than the tech itself. Even after having spent days pushing the model to its limits – or, perhaps, to my own – I struggle to accurately describe the astonishing features of this new AI system.

But I’ll do my best. Interacting with ChatGPT is similar to conversing via instant messenger with “Star Wars” character C-3PO or Jarvis from “Iron Man.” I’ve asked the model to write papers and poetry. I’ve asked it to code an example copy of The New York Times front page using the HTML and CSS web programming and style languages. I’ve asked the AI model to rewrite “The Night Before Christmas” as if told by the owner of a construction company from southwest Missouri, and then, I asked it to rewrite its new creation in a pirate accent: “The scallywags were nestled all snug in their cots. While visions of time-and-a-half danced in their thoughts.”

Barring technical issues with server load or my internet connection, ChatGPT has always begun to compose its response within 60 seconds, and typical responses begin mere moments after hitting enter.

Of course, it is not perfect. It is trained on human language and human data, which is itself a flawed and incomplete tool for describing reality. Additionally, the OpenAI team has placed intentional restrictions on the model. Upon creating a free account and logging in, each user is told that ChatGPT is “trained to decline inappropriate requests” and that due to the model only being trained on a limited data set, it has “limited knowledge of world and events after 2021.”

The reality is that terrifyingly practical robots – or Robbies, as I like to call them – are now part of our world. As business owners, we must honestly assess this new threat with an eye toward creating new opportunities. Here are three potential strategies as we all prepare for increased market penetration of AI:

  1. Invest in training for employees. Consider investing in training and education for employees to help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to work alongside AI. This could include training in AI technologies, data analysis or other areas more specific to AI used to your industry. This is an investment in your company and your people – both wins.
  2. Develop institutional knowledge of AI. This might be as simple as you staying up to date with the tech developments via online articles and industry publications. You may need to fire up a whole new department, create a new role or enlist new contractors to help your company get up to speed and stay abreast of the latest developments. Whatever your situation, your company must understand the potential impact of these technologies on the business and its industry to allow leadership to make informed decisions about how to incorporate them into operations. The same goes for nonprofits and government agencies.
  3. Imagine the future as hard as you can. Think of the ethical implications of this technology and how those issues may evolve over time. Who will be the winners and losers of your industry and why? What could be the most dire consequences of the rapid adoption of such powerful technology?

Perhaps most importantly, we all need to wildly imagine what we want the world to look like as opposed to how it is now. We need to dream bigger and plan greater than ever before, because we now have the means to bring our dreams to life in ways previous generations only prayed for.

Robbie and I have one thing in common: We are far from flawless. But, unlike Robbie, I have to stop writing now and go to sleep. Sweet dreams.

Gabriel Cassady is co-owner of creative agency 2 Oddballs LLC. He can be reached at gabriel@2oddballs.com.

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