[Workplace Whiz, ep.3] AI Is Taking Over, But That’s Actually Great News for Workplaces 

Artificial Intelligence used to be a thing of the movies -- Terminator, The Matrix, I Robot.

In a fairly unexpected turn of events, though, it has become real. Not in the way Hollywood made it look, for certain -- but for the first time in human history, we have created something that gets pretty close to science fiction AI.

Not only that, but AI use (and tools) are spreading like wildfire -- unless you've been living in a cave for the last 24 months, you've at least heard about ChatGPT, what it can do, and how utterly amazing it sounds.

Where are we going with this, though? Cosmin Patlageanu had a chat with Tom Winter, Founder at SEOwind, and it was SO interesting!

Here's a quick overview of what they discussed.

New, But Not That New

New technologies have always been disruptive. When the internet came along, it took more than twenty years to find widespread use for it -- but once it caught on, there was no going back. Similarly, as Cosmin pointed out in a story about Miles Davis, back in the day, when electronic music was just taking off, some musicians thought it would either be a fad or replace musicians entirely. With his band, Miles Davis incorporated electronic music in one of his albums, which not only proved the critics wrong but also opened up a world of possibilities.

AI is currently experiencing this same process of becoming widespread and accepted. Although it has been around for many years, recent advancements have allowed it to finally reach its true potential. This is both exciting and concerning at the same time.

What Should You Do as a Manager?

If you manage a team (or a process) and you're confused as to what you should do next about the whole Artificial Intelligence wave, you're not alone. The key is to understand the specific use cases for AI and determine how it can be applied in your organization.

For example, some businesses are using AI to automate tedious tasks, such as data entry or customer service inquiries. Others are utilizing AI-powered tools to analyze and optimize their marketing strategies. And many more are implementing AI chatbots to enhance their customer service, sales, and support processes.

Most notably, AI can be used to help you make better, faster, more data-driven decisions -- even when you're not a data analysis per se. Because you can feed AI models with massive amounts of information and because it can process them quickly, you can get actionable insights in real-time.

AI has also shown great potential in predicting outcomes and forecasting trends. This means that businesses can use AI to make more accurate predictions about their future performance, allowing them to stay ahead of the competition.

AI Use Cases for Your Company

ChatGPT has been touted as the it tool of the AI revolution, and not without merit. Beyond ChatGPT, however, you must understand that LLM (large language models), the technology ChatGPT is based on, is about much more than just chatbots. LLMs can be used for a variety of tasks, such as content creation, language translation, and even medical diagnosis.

In essence, LLMs/ AIs can mimic the processes you use as a human, at work. For instance, Tom Winter uses AI in content marketing, to analyze the search intent behind a keyword, gather all the data from Google, and answer the most probable questions his audience has. All this data, the speed at which it is analyzed, and the directness of the output help him make better decisions, based on data, rather than guesswork.

Additional ways to use AI revolve around repetitive tasks. For instance, in Finances, AI can be used to automate invoicing and managing expenses. In HR, AI can help with resume screening and candidate matching. And in operations, AI can assist with inventory management and supply chain optimization.

What is, perhaps, most amazing about AI is that you don't have to know how to write a single line of code to work with it. Up until a couple of years ago, you had to know how to speak "computer language" to communicate with a machine. But ChatGPT and other AI models are changing this, enabling humans of any kind of education level and technical abilities to communicate with machines using their own language. More so, that includes pretty much every language there is, not just English, which opens a whole new world of possibilities.

Are AIs Biased?

Cosmin asked Tom a very important question regarding the bias Artificial Intelligence might have. The answer is simple: yes, AIs can be biased, based on the data they are trained on. They are built to give you the most probable answer or string of words based on what information they've been fed with -- and that might even include tone of voice, how polite you are with the "machine", and so on.

As such, it is important for businesses and organizations to carefully consider the data they use when training their AI models. This includes ensuring diversity in the data set and regularly reevaluating and updating the model to eliminate any biases that may have been inadvertently introduced.

Will It Replace Google?

Tom was vehement about this: ChatGPT and AIs are not search engines. Unlike Google, ChatGPT doesn't index pages or crawl websites. Instead, it generates text based on the input it receives. While this may seem like a threat to traditional search engines, Tom believes that they will continue to coexist and complement each other.

...How About Jobs?

There's a lot of discussion around whether AI will replace jobs or not.

The answer is not as straightforward as some influencers might make it look.

Yes, Artificial Intelligence is likely to replace jobs, much in the same way as other technologies have in the past. However, it is also creating new job opportunities and changing the landscape of work. This means that while some jobs may become obsolete, others will be created.

In addition, AI can also assist with tasks that are currently done manually, freeing up employees to focus on higher value-added work. This can lead to a more efficient and productive workforce overall.

Case in point, it's been less than a year since ChatGPT took the world by storm -- and many people have already implemented it in their workflows. Cosmin, for example, uses it to brainstorm ideas and test his thinking regarding work-related issues.

Tom uses the "cyborg" method, as he calls it. The AI has superpowers, humans have superpowers, and when combined, it's a case of "one plus one equals more than two", as he puts it. Used well, AI can help with decisions, angles, and more -- but it needs human input because humans talk to customers, know the stakeholders, and set the company goals.

A New Way of Learning -- At School and Beyond

AI models have the great potential to revolutionize the way we learn. With their ability to process vast amounts of information and provide personalized recommendations, AI-powered education can create a more engaging and efficient learning experience for students.

But it's not just limited to formal education. AIs can also be used in self-paced learning or professional development, allowing individuals to tailor their own learning journeys based on their unique needs, knowledge, and goals.

Furthermore, AI can also assist in assessing and evaluating student progress, identifying areas where they may need additional support or guidance. This allows for a more personalized and effective form of education.

Looking ahead, the possibilities for AI in education are endless, and it has the potential to greatly enhance our learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. As technology continues to advance

Any Advice for Managers Right Now?

The world of AI is still young -- and many concerns regarding data security and privacy are more than legit. As a general rule, make sure you're very careful about what you input into the AI, particularly since it's almost impossible for AI models to delete data in their systems (which is why ChatGPT use is iffy from a GDPR standpoint, for example.)

Other than that... experiment. There's so much the AI can do and there's so much we haven't even tested yet! From tools that divide chats and train them to behave as different company roles (program manager, developer, client, etc.) to using AI in chatbots, marketing or customer service - the sky's the limit.

Most importantly, create processes and procedures around how you use AI -- this will ensure that it is being used ethically and effectively within your organization. Additionally, regularly reviewing and updating these processes as AI technology evolves is crucial in order to continue reaping its benefits.

Last, but not least, remember that AIs are not infallible -- just like humans, they make mistakes and hallucinate, so double-check the work of an AI the same as you would with, say, an intern. This helps you ensure you're making the most out of the unleashed AI power -- and avoiding any potential pitfalls that may arise.

It Was the Best of Times

Of all the times the AI could've taken over the world, it "chose" the years following a pandemic that sent office workers to work from home, and then in hybrid work models. Working remotely, as well as the massive wave of changes we have all experienced in the last three years have "primed" us to be more eager to try new things -- and thus adopt AI in our workflows.

Additionally, the increased focus on efficiency and productivity in a rapidly changing world has also made AI an attractive solution for many businesses. With its ability to automate tasks and provide insights, AI can help companies stay ahead of the curve and thrive in today's fast-paced digital landscape.

This is just the beginning -- errors will happen, we have to try different solutions, see what works in our unique contexts. But one thing is for sure, AI is here to stay and it will continue to evolve and shape the way we work and learn. It's up to us to embrace it responsibly and harness its power for the greater good. So let's keep exploring, experimenting, and utilizing AI to its full potential. Who knows what amazing use cases we’ll uncover? 

Want to listen to the full conversation? 

You can listen to the podcast on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts


Topics: Office of the future, Podcast

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