Generative AI refers to artificial intelligence algorithms that use existing content to create new content. In other words, it allows computers to abstract the underlying pattern, and then use that to generate similar content to what users input. This can have impact, both positive and negative, in business applications.
In a recent chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, host Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California led a discussion about ChatGPT and exploring the power of generative AI for business applications.
Defining Generative AI
The chat began with participants sharing what they think generative AI is, such as ChatGPT.
Gina Tabasso from Magnet said, “artificial intelligence that generates things. This one happens to generate text.”
Julie Basello from Radwell International agreed, “What Gina said -we couldn't have said it any more simply or accurately”
Host Rusine asked, “Have you tried any of it yet, Gina?”
Tabasso replied, “Yeppers. Tested it on a blog. Had it write a story about a unicorn that fell in love with a mermaid. Installed the AIPRM Google extension today.”
Whitney Koch from Welker said, “Generative AI can be used as a content creation tool. You as the human user provide inputs and tell the AI what you want, and the AI will scour the internet to generate an output. At least, I think that's what it is.”
Host, Rusine replied, “It's a great boon for content creators for sure.”
Missy Moorefield Southern Fasteners and Supply said, “Being a Dr. Who fan, my mind automatically goes to Cybermen.”
Host Rusine replied, “That's hilarious- although there could be some kind of terror attached to it. I guess there's just a lot we need to learn about it.”
Rebecca Prox said the Digital Marketing Pro said, “Generative AI uses everything the Internet contains to find ways of generating content in a (somewhat) meaningful way.”
Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online said, “A computer programme that scrapes everyone else's content, to create new content, based on a set of rules, written by a software engineer who does not know the subject. There is an illusion of self learning.”
Host Rusine replied, “Fact. It has to be trained or fed, still.”
Beth Bigelow from Home Building Solutions said, “I don't know, but it sounds like some futuristic bot that will take over the world!”
Kati McDermith, the Manufacturing Hype Girl said, “Without googling it?”
Basello replied, “Kati! You know this…”
Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “It’s a content creation tool”
Tabasso replied, “I would disagree. That's how people will try to use it and fail. That is not the intended use.”
Chris Giglio from Zero Surge said, “From what I understand it's basically an AI that can respond to prompts with text or images. They've rapidly evolved in the past year or so though.”
Felix Nater said, ’ I dunno?”
Brett from FreightPOP said, “I'm pretty sure generative AI is AI programming that can create bodies of text based off information you give it! It can be very useful, but also isn't quite perfect!”
Chase Bodor from Plastic Plus Technology said, “Generative AI like ChatGPT pulls data that it collects from the web and other inputs and uses that data to return a response. CHATGPT itself is a AI Program language - sort of like how Google uses Natural Programmable Language to predict your search.”
Host Rusine said, “Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers to learn from data and generate new, unique content. It is a system that uses sequence of words.”
Benefits to ChatGPT
Next everyone shared how the use of ChatGPT can benefit business operations.
Prox said, “I'm only beginning to learn about its capabilities, but in marketing, it's a great tool to help generate emails, blogs, Q&As, video descriptions, etc. I never use what it gives me in entirety. I always adjust it to our company standards."
Host Rusine replied, “I agree. We have barely scratched its surface.”
Bigelow said, “Maybe generate new marketing ideas?”
Tabasso said, “I would use it as a research tool or idea generator. An aggregator. Not for end use. One are where it is rearing it's head is in schools. Now we have to deal with how to figure out plagiarism. Did the student write the paper or not?”
Koch said, “Great question! Looking forward to the responses--I haven't played around with ChatGPT at all.”
McDermith said, “Not that I support this, but I know some companies are using it to market. Email copy, blog copy... yikes”
Stepanov said, “Content creation and ideation. It can also increase productivity because it saves time in creating content.”
Bodor said, “Depends on what hat you wear: - Marketing: Content ideas and creation. - IT: Troubleshoot bugs in your code. - Operations: Create help guides or instructions. - Plant Ops: Documentation and troubleshooting.”
Giglio said, “It can write sales scripts, code simple plug ins for your website, write blog posts, and even figure out target audiences. As long as you present the prompt correctly this technology is scarily effective, especially for those in marketing.”
Bodor replied, “Absolutely. It is very effective, even when you use the bare minimum of its capabilities.”
Moorefield said, “I haven't yet played around with any of the AI tools that have appeared. I use Canva for pretty much all my designs and they just released a whole slew of AI apps within their program, so I'll be diving into trying those soon.”
Basello said, “I've used it as a test for preparing blog information and research. It has it's merits”
Packer said, “It can be used to speed up many time consuming activities creating content at a low cost. An important aspect is you have to know your subject to make sure it is delivering the right message.”
Host Rusine said, “It can improve business operations by providing greater automation, personalization, and scalability for customer support services and processes.”
The discussion then turned to some potential applications of ChatGPT in helping businesses to help them become more profitable or efficient.
Basello said, “Blogs, content creation in general, research--those are the first three that come to mind”
Koch said, “Given some of the responses to Q2, I think small companies could really leverage ChatGPT to help accelerate some tasks they don't have enough manpower for.”
Bodor replied, “I feel seen”
Koch replied, “HAHA! You and I should talk, Chase! I am certain I should be using ChatGPT to do this myself.”
Bigelow said, “Sorry to answer a question with a question, but can it help with budgets and cost saving measures?”
Host Rusine replied, “It's a $$ saver. You don't have to pay for expensive content creators. But if you mean inputting, your numbers there and other sensitive information, I wouldn't do that.”
Tabasso then replied, “So sayeth he before the fall! So, everyone pulls the same or similar content. How does that impact SEO and Google ranking/indexing?”
Tabasso said, “dumbing down of people, copyright infringement, plagiarism, lack of originality, duplicate content across the internet creating an SEO nightmare, laziness, and on and on...”
Prox replied, “I take it you're not a fan.”
Tabasso answered, “For the right purpose in the right way. It's a tool, not a content creator. It is a search engine. A research tool. I have used it. Like anything, there is responsibility. Google is going to have a field day as duplicate content shows up across websites.”
Suzan Bostick from DCSC Inc replied, “You raise some very good points to think about Gina!!”
Stepanov said, “Customer service, product recommendations, and content creation.”
Host Rusine said, “It can be used across multiple areas of a business, including HR, IT/engineering, manufacturing, transport, healthcare, risk and legal, customer service, IT/Engineering, marketing sales and product development.”
She continued, “
- Marketing & Sales - You can create images, texts, videos, market/sales intelligence, & customer persona journey, etc
- HR - Automate onboarding & run data to qualify candidates.
- Development - IT/Engineering- generate or review codes, product development & enhancements”
Pitfalls and Risks
Next participants shared their thoughts on what some potential pitfalls and risks are that businesses face when using a ChatGPT-based system.
Prox said, “For one thing, if you don't apply the right input, you won't get a quality output.
Host Rusine replied, “Yep! It's not perfect in so many ways and therefore, it still needs a LOT of human input and effort.”
Packer replied, “Rebecca, I have worked with some very good interpreters at a many European conferences. "Their motto is "Rubbish in, rubbish out". I think the same rule applies in AI. We have to remember that the people creating the software are not experts in every subject”
Stepanov said, “While ChatGPT can provide automated support and quickly generate content, it lacks the human touch and empathy often required for customer service or marketing interactions.”
Nater replied, “BOOOOOO Not for me. People are our most important assets.”
Bigelow said, “I will defer to Gina's last answer haha!”
Koch said, “I agree with Rebecca, that you need to be sure you have the right inputs, otherwise it's really not going to save you time. And I think you can't blindly accept the output without reviewing and making changes either to the input or output.”
McDermith replied, “this makes sense to me”
Moorefield said, “I think Gina hit on some good ones in her response to Q3.”
Giglio said, “One of the biggest hurdles the technology has to overcome is how generic the copy it writes is. Also correcting something an AI wrote can be more time consuming than just writing the copy yourself.”
Host Rusine replied, “That's something to consider but it really boils down to how you're using it- the input you give can greatly impact its output.”
Brett said, “The outputs can be inaccurate if your inputs are not perfect, and it can get repetitive if you aren't careful. There is also a chance for false information to make it's way into the outputs! You must always double check your inputs and especially your outputs!”
Rusine replied, “Double check always- that's the human responsibility.”
Stepanov said, “It is prone to misinformation.”
Host Rusine replied, “There's one pitfall, Pavel.”
Packer said, “Publishing an unedited piece that has misinformation in it. This could lead to legal and reputational damage. If you have Artificial Intelligence (AI), you also have artificial stupidity (AS).”
Host Rusine said, “Some potential pitfalls and risks include:
- Misuse by false actors
- Poorly chosen parameters could cause bad, or disastrous results
- Spread (Perpetuation) of false information
- Proprietary and privacy information leaks
- Outdated or obsolete data”
She continued, “Check this to learn more about risks: https://www.darkreading.com/risk/employees-feeding-sensitive-business-data-chatgpt-raising-security-fears
And here’s one about Getty Images suing a company about its images https://www.theverge.com/2023/1/17/23558516/ai-art-copyright-stable-diffusion-getty-images-lawsuit”
Eroding the Pursuit of Authenticity
Since ChatGPT can be used as a virtual assistant and for customer service, does it erode the very foundations of our pursuit of authenticity? Participants shared their thoughts.
Koch said, “In business are we pursuing authenticity or just trying to provide fast service to make money?”
Host Rusine Repplied, “That's a good question to think about, Whit.”
Prox said, “It can... but it doesn't have to. There's a limit for everything. If you're using AI as a chatbot, for instance, there's a point where you need a person to answer questions. Chatbots can only go so far (at least for now).”
Brett said, “It all comes down to how we use it. If we let it go on autopilot and leave it in charge of communicating with potential customers and answering their questions, that certainly erodes the authenticity of a business. It should be used as a (closely moitored) tool!”
Host Rusine said, “I agree, Brett. It should never be left alone. You can complement it with human intervention - our creativity, our empathy, etc.”
McDermith said, ‘I think this is what I mean. This lack of human interaction and authenticity is making me sad.”
Bigelow agreed, “Exactly, Kati! Makes me sad too.”
Stepenov said, “Tough question. However, we believe that ChatGPT and other AI-based systems are designed to augment and enhance human interactions, not replace them entirely. AI has limitations that only humans can intervene.”
Packer said, “I think the answer to this question is in the A of AI "Artificial". How can you be authentic if rely on artificially created content.”
Tabasso said, “Chatbots already are doing that. I hate them. You go around and around and get canned responses instead of a real person helping you and get nowhere fast. Just like voicemail loop systems. Press and hold. Press and hold. Wait for 30 minutes.”
Prox said, “Here's ChatGPT's answer on that...
Host Rusine said, “Its ability to create convincing texts that mimic humans brings up serious questions about what can truly be considered “authentic.”
Because it challenges our traditional notion of authenticity, we may need to redefine authenticity.”
The chat wrapped up with participants sharing their advice for businesses looking to use ChatGPT. Host Rusine asked them if businesses should a) Go for it! b) Don’t (!) or c) Use with caution.
Koch said, “C”
Tabasso said, “C”
Bigelow said, “D. I'm really in no position to give advice about it haha!”
Prox said, “C - use with caution. Know what you're doing. Read up on it. Take a class. Don't just put it into play. That's dangerous.”
Host Rusine said, “Great advise!”
Host Rusine said, “If using it, remember that it is an automated system; it should not replace human interactions. Sure, it can mimic our language, but it doesn’t know how our world, run by complicated humans, works really. Use it with a real person.”
She continued, “Regardless of your answer, I believe HR/IT should address this issue by educating their employees about it on where and how to use "guard rails."
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