By now, you might have heard of ChatGPT by OpenAI. This AI-powered chatbot can write everything from raps to commercial copy for Ryan Reynold’s mobile company to online Customer Experience articles. It has the potential to make AI accessible to everyone—even me. ChatGPT has left me gobsmacked, pondering the implications of it for all of us over time.
It is already shaking things up. It took only five days to reach one million users.
After its release, Google called in Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who haven’t been involved with search for a few years, to address the threat it poses to Google’s search business. In addition, Microsoft is attempting to establish a 49 percent stake in the company. The company OpenAI is feeling pressure to turn a profit before all that goes down, too, so they are setting up a premium version of it and asking prospects “how much is too much” to pay per month for a premium version of the AI writing assistant.
Then, of course, there are implications for education. Many universities are grappling with whether to consider AI-generated copy as “cheating” and question whether it is plagiarism, per an article in Wired.
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My podcast partner said it would be nearly impossible to assess someone’s understanding of a topic by having them write something at home and turn it in. The ChatGPT copy is polished and personal enough that it will be nearly impossible to detect. (Although, there are already some college students that are programming software that can see AI copy by its characteristics.)
The implications for Customer Experience are significant, too. Some of you have some thoughts about it, too. I solicited responses from my followers on LinkedIn, and here’s what they thought about ChatGPT.
Igor Rodrigues says: It’s the power of context and being able to refine the answers that impress me.
Sergei Liashenko thinks: This technology could be used as a simulator for staff and a tool for assessing communication, skill, and empathy.
Acting out different situations are unexpected requests for customers. We could run interaction scenarios and get responses and reactions. So, preparing ourselves for many different occasions.
I agree with Sergei. ChatGPT can help in ways that you might not expect, too. For example, when I was playing with it, I asked it to create a customer complaints process. It did. Then, I asked ChatGPT to make it more customer-centric, and it did that, too. (It did better with that than some of the clients I worked with over the years.)
Of course, Graham Hill made a great point about that, too. He says that if everybody created the complaints process using this, everything would be the same. There would be no distinctiveness, no difference, and where’s the competitive edge?
This is Only The Beginning
What is particularly exciting/terrifying about this is that ChatGPT is just the beginning. Things are going to develop from here, and the output will improve. Moreover, it will only become more disruptive. But the extent of the disruption and how it will manifest is challenging to predict at the moment.
For those of you there, consider the early days of the internet. Those first interactions on the computer were not like what we experience today, were they? Most of us were rather unimpressed with its potential, which resulted in the late 90s early 2000s dot-com economic downturn. Thinking back to those times, after so many people lost all that money, none of us would have been able to predict how integral the Internet is to our day-to-day life today either.
But now it’s hard to imagine life without the world wide web.
ChatGPT could be the same. Right now, it’s a toy and most of us are testing it to see what it can do. Except for the high school English teacher, it will not affect most of our lives that much. But what about in twenty years? It could be transformative like the internet was.
You might be surprised to hear this, but I recently had a problem with Apple. I bought an Apple Watch, and the band is the wrong size. However, I bought it in Florida and am now in England. So, for many reasons, they won’t take it back.
I decided I would write a complaint, or rather, I would have ChatGPT write me one. It did. Then I asked it to do using Florida law. It did that, too. Then, I asked it to make the tone more assertive. It did.
Now, imagine if I sent this letter. Would Apple return an AI-generated response? Would we have an entire customer complaints interaction without humans writing a word?
Also, what would happen if I took the ChatGPT letter and asked it to respond to it also using Florida law? However, Reuters says that while ChatGPT passed law school exams at the University of Minnesota, it was only a C+ average, which is a pretty mediocre performance.
So, maybe this letter isn’t that great. Yet.
So, What Does This Mean To You?
To summarize, ChatGPT is neither good nor bad at this point. There are some major pros to this technology, not the least of which is making it accessible to everyone, and some cons, like the death of the academic essay.
Democratization is essential here. By giving everyone access, ChatGPT makes accessible to people written communications and other applications that previously required intense specialization, extensive training, or a huge budget to pay for someone to do it. That is empowering.
For example, some people are not natural writers, and if they are, not usually in a second language. This technology allows people to produce written works that sound like a native speaker wrote them. Chat GPT can also write some code, which has enormous implications for the code-illiterate or even the code-mediocre. The time from an idea to a working application will decrease and be handled by those with much less computer science training.
I do not love the implications of this technology for education. Cognitive self-improvement is an essential skill. If an AI bot does all the writing, people will never learn the skill of putting together an argument or using the art of persuasion on their own, a helpful skill. So, therefore, I worry about what we will lose here, too.
Moreover, there is always inherent bias in AI. The AI engine is only as good as the information one feeds it. Therefore, we should be careful about accidental or deliberate manipulations of this technology.
Moreover, there is a danger that if other AI agents create the information fed into the AIs, there could also be a problem. The homogeneous nature of the content we find in the ether could become the product of inbreeding and more like an echo chamber rather than producing new insights and ideas.
Whatever the dangers, we will have to learn to deal with them because we cannot put the genie back in the bottle. However, we have overcome these challenges in the past and will do it again in the future, so I have (mostly) positive feelings about what is possible.
What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts about ChatGPT and its potential, as well as its dangers. Please include them in the comments below.
(This Newsletter was written 100% by a Human—for now)
Wiggers, K. OpenAI begins piloting ChatGPT Professional, a premium version of its viral chatbot (2023). Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2023/01/11/openai-begins-piloting-chatgpt-professional-a-premium-version-of-its-viral-chatbot/ (Accessed: 26 January 2023).
Google Calls In Help From Larry Page and Sergey Brin for A.I. Fight (2023). Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/20/technology/google-chatgpt-artificial-intelligence.html?smid=em-share (Accessed: 26 January 2023).
Sloan, K. ChatGPT passes law school exams despite ‘mediocre’ performance (2023) Available at: https://www.reuters.com/legal/transactional/chatgpt-passes-law-school-exams-despite-mediocre-performance-2023-01-25/ (Accessed: January 26, 2023).
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