By Mohan Krishnamoorthy
It has been nearly a year since ChatGpt and Generative-AI came out and AI based tools captured our popular imagination. Stories of creative uses of these tools continue to make headlines. Techies got busy figuring out the APIs, LLM and began learning about self-hosting LLMs to create their own ‘private GPTs.’ In the meantime, corporate leaders are seeking opportunities to incorporate AI into their business plans and are investing in building or adopting generative AI models to carry out specific tasks. According to an IDC forecast, enterprises worldwide will invest nearly $16 billion in generative AI solutions in 2023.
Big-tech and social media giants are also pouring billions into enhancing their offerings with AI/ML tools: Microsoft’s Bing AI and Copilot, Google’s Bard, and OpenAI, with ChatGPT-4, are making AI chatbot technology accessible to the public and corporate users. Big-tech is looking for AI gold, but spade-makers such as Nvidia are investing billions in chips and infrastructure offerings to enable back-end services. All this brings us back to the question:
How has ChatGpt and Generative-AI changed YOUR life?
My feelings, like those of a few others, when it comes to generative AI being the revolutionary technology that is going to upend life and businesses are mixed. I use many of these tools on-and-off while I am also intrigued by some use-cases, so I asked redditors on the popular Futurology subedit – How has it changed YOUR life?
My question blew up and generated over 500 insightful responses. I spent a while sorting through the responses and follow up comments, so here’s a summary of the top 6 use-cases:
• Coding Assistance: Software developers stated that ChatGPT is useful for tasks such as writing Excel macros, generating SQL scripts, obtaining basic shell scripts, and adding documentation to code. While many agree that it is good for generating an outline of the code snippets, they also point out to the human skill – one needs to be a good coder to test and perform quality checks before using that code.
• Productivity Tool: White-collar workers have begun using ChatGPT to enhance their personal productivity in tasks such as drafting emails from an outline, summarizing of lengthy reports, creating meeting outlines, writing/revising job descriptions and other text drafting work that is time consuming. To prevent their proprietary information from being leaked into public LLMs, larger companies are beginning to invest in self-hosting LLMs (‘private GPTs’).
• Education and teaching: Educators are starting to use the tool to supplement their work – like automated teacher’s assistants – for basic tasks like expanding on ideas and setting an outline of lessons and using image generators for more interacting class sessions encouraging students to understand concepts better. In addition, educators are learning to catch up with grading students’ essays using ‘AI detector’ tools.
• Research, Learning and Job hunting: Students (like my son) have taken to the tool like duck to water. Rather than googling answers for homework or essays, they are learning to use ChatGPT prompts to generate their essays or entire sections of reports. Students in business school are using it to write cover letters, resumes, and even check their grammar on their essays. Some are getting more creative by copy-pasting the target-company’s values from their website, asking ChatGPT to generate CVs and cover letters that are tuned to the company’s values.
• Creative Writing and Graphic Design – Writers have begun using Generative AI based tools to polish up their writing, copyedit and to get more verbose with some prompt ideas. The use of ChatGPT and its OpenAI cousin DALL·E 2 by creative people has led to a boom in AI-written e-books on Amazon.
• Content Generation: Marketers love generative AI because it speeds up the effort required to create verbose marketing content. It helps them in drafting articles, press releases and blog posts, saving time and effort. With creative prompts, work that used to take hours or days can be completed in minutes. However, this is also a double edge sword since some web content aggregators are using the tools to create substantial amounts of “junk” content with keywords, hoping to improve SEO for marketing websites. Some of it seems counterproductive since search engine algorithms are learning to ignore this fluff.
We continue to see articles about ‘creative’ uses of Generative-AI tools, but most seem to fall under one of these six categories. The responses to my query were informative, but also seem to echo my skepticism over the limitations, accuracy, and reliability of the content generated by the Generative-AI family of applications. Several respondents also talked about areas where it cannot be used.
Bottomline: As we head towards the end of 2023, we seem to be on an evolutionary path towards productivity improvements, not revolutionary one that will upend work and workplaces as we know them.
Mohan Krishnamoorthy is an Indian American technology executive with a multinational company. His viewpoints and papers have been published in several international technical and nontechnical journals.
These viewpoints are his own and not that of his employer. He can be reached at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohanbabuk/