As ChatGPT and other AI bots usher in 'golden age of artificial intelligence', the business potential is huge but so are the potential pitfalls – Gordon Campbell
AI’s apparently endless writing and conversational abilities have far-reaching implications across customer services, the legal, finance and creative sectors. The advancements we are seeing are reminiscent of what streaming services Netflix and Spotify did to Blockbuster and HMV or what e-commerce did to high street retail.
So it should come as no surprise that a recent survey found almost 30 per cent of professionals have used Open AI’s ChatGPT or similar chatbot programs in their work. AI is already being rapidly embraced by those in marketing and advertising, according to the poll for social networking app Fishbowl. Around 37 per cent of these professionals have used such programs in their jobs. Those in technology were not far behind at 35 per cent, followed by consultants at 30 per cent.
Such tools are being used to brainstorm, draft emails, write, and debug pieces of computer code. Others have been quick to utilise AI to create websites with thousands of pages in less than an hour and monetise the content. Some openly boast of using automation to generate images and write search-engine friendly articles to drive website traffic. Content which previously took a considerable time to produce can now be mimicked instantly.
Yet, far too many are in denial over the AI revolution’s wider impact on jobs and livelihoods. This cannot be underestimated, it’s no new fad. The transformation is happening now and showing no sign of slowing down.
When automation started creeping into my own field of digital advertising, many resisted it – resulting in poorer results for their clients. People will naturally be afraid, but as we’ve seen in the past, creative and other professionals should embrace new technology.
By using it to their advantage to augment their own skills and capabilities, they can not only survive but thrive. Forward-thinking companies can look to revamp their business model, putting tech at the core and changing the workplace culture to think ‘digital first’.
AI has the potential to enable people to work more quickly and effectively, without being distracted by boring tasks. Organisations should be ready to either help workers upskill and retrain. Meanwhile, we already have basic AI ‘actors’ that allow you to create videos. It’s often impossible to tell if you are speaking to a real human or an online chatbot.
Text-to-speech technology has improved dramatically in the past few years and it’s only a matter of time until all of these innovations are combined. You could be talking to a bot online and have no idea, raising ethical and transparency concerns. Yet it could be used by businesses to build positive relationships with their customers by offering more reliable support and advice.
While businesses have much to embrace, risks should not be ignored. Human supervision will be key to harnessing the benefits of AI and perhaps all the potential pitfalls have not been thought about yet. For example, it could be used by governments to automatically influence the public at scale by sending personalised messages at a rate that would be impossible for the average human.
Concerns also remain over biased facial recognition algorithms that reinforce racism and sexism, and the potential to spread misinformation. But researchers and developers are moving at lightning pace to support human achievement and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.
Gordon Campbell is co-founder of Glasgow-based e-commerce and online advertising agency ClickBoost
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