Let’s Get Real About Artificial Intelligence

In the past several posts, I’ve been focusing on new workplace trends emerging in 2023. I’d be remiss not to mention ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence model everyone’s talking about. This model can engage in human-sounding dialogue and answer a bunch of questions. Though it’s been fun for lots of people, it has serious uses too. In this blog, I’ll explain how you can use ChatGPT to your advantage at work.

What’s All the Craze?

ChatGPT welcome pageFirst, we need to understand what this is all about. For starters, you can check out this post by OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. This is how they introduced the model to the world in November of 2022. The company explains how they trained this model and how it can be used. They also note that it’s not a finished product yet. OpenAI made ChatGPT accessible to the public primarily to garner feedback about how it’s working. They want users to share feedback about any issues with how ChatGPT is functioning. You can also use that link to request new features. 

So if it’s still a work in progress, what makes it so interesting already? As this CNET article notes, the artificial intelligence model has become wildly popular. And it all happened very quickly. Millions of regular people like you and I are using the model every month already. TIME reported that 100 million people used the model just in January 2023. (Maybe you’re already one of those users.) Plus, ChatGPT is making waves in the tech world. Microsoft recently announced a multibillion dollar investment into OpenAI. That’s a very big deal. When a tech giant like Microsoft gets behind something new, you know it’ll keep growing.

In addition, lots of companies have already announced that they’ll be utilizing ChatGPT in their work. For instance, Buzzfeed announced that they’ll be using AI to generate content. CNET also revealed that they’re using an AI engine to write articles. Your company may be next in rolling out the red carpet for ChatGPT. Will you be ready?

Limitations of Artificial Intelligence

Of course, ChatGPT is not going to change the world of work overnight. After all, consider the widespread use of chatbots in customer service. You’ve probably had the experience of talking to one. Did you think it replaced the value of a human customer service employee? This research suggests that artificial intelligence isn’t quite there yet. Even Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, advised the public not to rely on ChatGPT just yet.

In their own post, OpenAI lists several limitations of the current model. For instance, the model sometimes provides answers that sound smart but are totally made up. The company claims there’s no easy fix for this. Training the model to be more cautious would make it second-guess itself too much, even for answers it knows. Additionally, the model sometimes answers the same question totally differently if you word it differently. That means its comprehension isn’t up to speed yet. Finally, ChatGPT’s answers are often absurdly verbose. Because its training favored comprehensive answers, the model learned to provide longer answers always. It doesn’t know when a simple answer will suffice.

In short, despite the seeming genius of this artificial intelligence, it can’t replace the human mind quite yet. Of course, that doesn’t mean it isn’t changing the way people work already. In big and small ways, you’ll see ChatGPT affecting the workplace soon, if it isn’t already.

Implications for the Future of Work

Given both the super cool skills of the model and its weaknesses, its uses are limited. This CNET article suggests a bunch of ways you could absolutely use ChatGPT. For instance, you could ask it for advice on how to nail your next interview. It could also provide tips for crafting an elevator pitch or presentation best practices. Beyond that, ChatGPT could actually produce some usable content for you. Many people are using it already to write software code. Perhaps more interestingly, this doctor used ChatGPT to write a letter to an insurance company. Basically, this artificial intelligence model can make your life easier in a bunch of different ways.

That said, you’ll have to exercise caution before handing over the reins completely. ChatGPT can make mistakes, even obvious ones. For instance, these screenshots show ChatGPT insisting it’s still 2022. You’ll need to review any content generated by the artificial intelligence with your own real mind. Plus, you may encounter organizations that outright reject the use of content generated by AI. The journal Science totally banned any text generated by AI from all submissions. The editorial I linked expresses strong views about why academic authors shouldn’t use this tool to replace their own writing.

In the bigger picture, AI won’t be able to replace humans completely anytime soon. Though it can automate simple functions, many jobs still require a human element. Consider how many people are still employed as drivers (for taxis, Uber, etc) despite the invention of self-driving cars. There are also people always ready to jump in for customer service chatbots when they hit their limits. Basically, artificial intelligence is still too young to operate without human oversight. Besides that, AI is creating new jobs, like data labeling, to help it run.

Practical Responses to the Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Whatever your organization’s policies, there are definitely practical ways you can harness ChatGPT. Be smart about how you can use artificial intelligence. In my post about the four-day work week, I noted that most of us waste a lot of time at work. You can actually use AI to manage your time more efficiently and work smarter.

This article from Entrepreneur suggests a bunch of ways you can do this. First, you can use it to conduct research more quickly. Unlike a search engine, ChatGPT doesn’t just give you a list of links to try. It can answer a question concisely and even provide sources. Next, you can use the power of artificial intelligence to analyze data and support data-driven decision making. What I found most interesting was that AI can actually schedule your day (or even week) for you. This research confirmed that AI can arrange your calendar better than most people. This means it can help you tackle your to-do list more effectively. As this video demonstrates, ChatGPT can even help you identify times you’re trying to do too much in too little time. That can make saying no to overcommitting yourself easier.

Finally, ChatGPT can help you make personal, work-related decisions. For instance, it can give advice about business strategy and investments. It does this by analyzing trends and synthesizing ideas available on the Internet. If you’re approaching a career transition, ChatGPT can also help you revamp your resume. It’s cool to see that artificial intelligence can help your work life even outside of the workday.

Check It Out

If this post has intrigued you, you may want to check this thing out for yourself. If so, here’s the link to access ChatGPT. In case you’re not sure how to use it, check out this step-by-step guide created by Business Insider. It’s exciting to see new tools emerging to support productivity in the workplace. Like Pyrus’s workflow automation software, artificial intelligence has a tremendous capacity to help move your work forward.