ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that launched in November 2022; since then, it has sparked what seems to be endless conversation and discourse about artificial intelligence, about the power of machine learning, and about the current and potential applications of AI across different industries for businesses. For many business professionals outside of the tech world, however, ChatGPT and AI more broadly can seem like a complete black box—and in many senses, it certainly can be.
Understanding all the minute intricacies of a tool is far from a prerequisite for making that tool useful, though, and so even if it seems like an entirely foreign concept. Learning a little more about ChatGPT and what it means for the current and future of business can be time very well invested. As a primer, both for those familiar with the topic and those who aren’t, here is everything you need to know about ChatGPT as a business owner.
The Power of Machine Learning
While artificial intelligence is not just machine learning, machine learning is probably the most common form of artificial intelligence that gets mentioned. In a very simplified way, machine learning is very powerful pattern recognition. With the help of increasingly powerful computers, an algorithm is trained on huge quantities of data to learn how to connect the dots, and to start connecting more dots on its own. It’s essentially how we learn as humans, but with access to more information and with a capacity for more and quicker learning than any of us, machine “learning” is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Importantly, “learning” doesn’t just refer to crunching more data or scraping more websites. Learning includes everything, including language and human interaction. That’s why one place AI technology can be found now and will continue to be found has a lot to do with language and human interaction: customer service.
Existing AI Tools
To be clear, ChatGPT is not the first ever AI chat tool that serves to help businesses. In fact, AI-powered customer service chatbots have been one of the most popular AI technologies in recent years, especially across e-commerce brands and sites. Being able to imitate human customer service interactions and learning from past conversations make AI a great way not only to optimize customer service, but to automate it as well.
One of the biggest benefits of existing and future AI tools is exactly that: optimization and automation. Product recommendations is another process that has been automated and optimized. A sharp machine learning algorithm can analyze a customer’s previous purchases along with other profile information and make astute predictions on what that customer is likely to enjoy next. Automating these processes frees up labor and resources that might be better invested in other tasks.
ChatGPT in Business
In a very real way, the power behind ChatGPT is nothing new, but the presentation is a bit revolutionary. Before, people may have pictured using AI as if they were talking to Siri, or like in an Iron Man movie, but this intense computational power was actually buried behind some pretty intense programming jargon. Now, with ChatGPT, utilizing AI is as simple as typing out a question.
While more applications are sure to come—and quickly—there are plenty of ways ChatGPT can be leveraged to help business today. A quick conversation with the chatbot can scrape and summarize information across countless sources, create a draft or two for tedious copy, and serve as a spark during a creative block.
It’s always important, however, to remember to exercise caution. While you might have some healthy conscious or unconscious skepticism when searching through results on Google, you might not have that same transparency with the chat. In the same way, the bot might be scraping information that isn’t 100% accurate. Humans make mistakes when researching too, and just how we check our work, it’ll be critical to check ChatGPT’s work too.
While full automation is probably not where ChatGPT is heading for now, the potential it has to simplify and speed up often tedious and time-consuming tasks that are important, but that could be completed much more efficiently.
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