Generative AI at work — How to master human-machine collaboration (Part 1)
Ask ChatGPT anything and it will probably come up with an answer. Since its release, individuals have used OpenAI's chatbot for a wide variety of purposes, easily qualifying it as a top candidate for Time's person of the year. It can come up with new recipes, create poems in the styles of Charles Baudelaire or Robert Burns, learn a new language, or write lines of code faster than any human.
So, what do the versatility and creative capacities of generative AI mean for your organization? The short answer is: It all depends on the context in which it’s being used.
In this blog series, we will explore the potential of generative AI (and its applications such as ChatGPT) from two different perspectives. First, let’s look at the human perspective and in part two, we will examine the IT perspective.
Part 1: What generative AI means for employees
Developing empathy through role playing: Generative AI applications like ChatGPT can adopt a selected role and communicate accordingly, making it possible to learn in reverse while quickly acquiring empathy. For example, as a customer relations agent, I can ask a generative chatbot to play the role of my customers in a fictitious interaction and provide my answer to a request from that customer. It can also evaluate my answer based on the goals I set for myself. Have I been precise enough, empathic enough, and did I provide the customer with relevant information?
Beyond training, the chatbot can also use sentiment analysis to provide agents with relevant advice as they work. Reading the customer’s request, it can decide whether an empathic answer is needed to alleviate the customer’s frustration, or whether the person just needs a factual list of information. I used customer service as an example, but it can also be used to train salespeople or to master a new language.
Technical skills are no longer required for basic tasks: A study conducted by Stanford and MIT showed that AI boosts worker productivity by 14%. However, generative AI should not be used as a tool to ask workers to do more. Rather, it should help automate basic tasks, giving workers time to perform more complex ones. It also provides them with the ability to accomplish activities that were once far beyond their reach. The true revolution that generative AI brings is the democratization of technical skills, meaning that it is now accessible to everyone. Until now, one needed to possess programming or computer science skills to interact with a computer in an efficient and smooth way.
Generative AI should not be used as a tool to ask workers to do more. Rather, it should help automate basic tasks, giving workers time to perform more complex ones.
More reading: The Age of AI has begun
Furthermore, tools like ChatGPT provide employees with an interactive way of learning. Employees can ask questions just like they would to a human mentor, go through interactive tutorials and learn through role playing exercises. This enables employees to quickly acquire necessary knowledge and skills, reducing the time needed for traditional training methods.
The world’s most famous chatbot is also enhancing human creativity by simplifying complex computing requests. It requires only natural language and domain knowledge, with no need for coding skills. Of course, this is not to say that coding is becoming obsolete as it still has a place in creating software and applications.
Generative AI is not only democratizing coding. Photo editing can now be easily done by individuals who never learned how to use Photoshop. The same goes for video and sound editing. This doesn’t mean that every single employee will become an artist, but most can now become “good enough” to produce interesting content. For example, digital marketing professionals can optimize strategies through A/B testing such as website layout or SEO strategies, leveraging predictive analytics and data-driven recommendations. Blog posts can be enhanced with AI generated images, and someone with basic coding skills can quickly get an app up and running.
Introducing the age of active learning: Another big advantage of generative AI is that it enables workers to learn as they perform a task, because intelligent chatbots can be integrated into your workflows through a widget. This allows you to ask for explanations as you’re reading a document, without having to open a new window and look for additional information for a better understanding. This may not seem like a big deal, but a study from the Harvard Business Review shows that an average employee switches between apps and windows more than 1,200 times over the course of a single day. This inefficient way of working translates to four hours lost per week, or five weeks per year. That’s not even considering the risk of being distracted once you start searching on Google. Hence, any tool that can enable you to switch windows less frequently is valuable to adopt.
Be careful what you wish for: Two lawyers from New York City are currently facing disciplinary sanctions after submitting six fake cases to a federal court. They had been using ChatGPT for legal research, and the chatbot had hallucinated some of its answers — completely fabricating examples and presenting them as real. This shows how easy it is to be manipulated by generative AI. ChatGPT is like the mythical kobold, a mischievous spirit that may assist with your most cumbersome chores, but also plays pranks if left to its own devices. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from using AI-generated content, but you must remain vigilant, since you are responsible for anything you submit under your own name.
Of course, there are other ways that AI can impact your employees and how they work, but for now, we will turn our attention to how generative AI will change IT. We will explore this topic in the next installment of this series. Stay tuned!