How AI can Change the Business World
March 21, 2023
Before long, you will be able to ask a digital assistant to transcribe notes from a meeting during a business phone call. To condense long e-mail messages to speed up the process of drafting suggested responses. To readily produce a particular chart in Excel and to quickly turn a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation. These enhancements are available exclusively on Microsoft’s 365 platforms.
Over the past few days, the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence seemed to be making another surge. Both Microsoft and Google have introduced new artificial intelligence-based features for their major productivity tools. While OpenAI has unveiled the latest generation of the technology behind its highly popular chatbot tool, ChatGPT.
Artificial intelligence tools have traditionally operated in the background of many services, but now they are increasingly powerful and visible in a wide range of work tools.
Recent Google features offer assistance in “brainstorming” and “proofreading” written work in Docs. There are also plans to introduce a chat platform that is commonly used. Slack is intended to be used in the workplace. Employees will have the option of using its ChatGPT tool to communicate with colleagues, delegating tasks such as writing and responding to new messages and summarizing discussions in channels.
What do companies say?
Although OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are at the forefront of this movement, they are not alone. Other leading companies, such as IBM, Amazon, Baidu, and Tencent, are working on similar technologies. In addition, numerous startups are developing AI writing assistants and image generators.
The message from technology companies is transparent: Artificial intelligence can improve productivity and eliminate menial tasks. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, emphasized during a presentation Thursday,
“We believe this next generation of AI will unlock a new wave of productivity growth: powerful copilots designed to remove the drudgery from our daily tasks and jobs, freeing us to rediscover the joy of creation.”
However, the huge number of new choices entering the market is overwhelming. Like many things in the technology industry over the past decade, it raises concerns about whether they live up to their promises or have unintended consequences. These include the possibility of cheating and making some roles redundant (although this may be the goal of some adopters).
The potential for increased productivity is also uncertain. For example, the proliferation of AI-generated e-mail may increase productivity for the sender. At the same time, decrease it for recipients who receive longer computer-generated messages than necessary. Moreover, the fact that everyone has the option of using a chatbot to communicate with colleagues does not mean that everyone will choose to do so.
How the workplace changes
AI can speed up tasks and improve productivity, as seen with autocomplete options. The latest wave of AI product launches promises to go far beyond that. OpenAI’s ChatGPT stunned users with its ability to generate human-sounding responses to user prompts, and Microsoft made a multibillion-dollar investment in the technology.
OpenAI recently released GPT-4, a more powerful version of ChatGPT that promises to surpass previous iterations. Microsoft has incorporated the same technology into its platforms, such as the “Co-pilot” feature, which helps edit and summarize documents, and Business Chat, an agent that rides along with the user, understanding and making sense of their data.
While the impact of AI-powered tools depends on the application, Curran believes that spreadsheet apps will have the most significant impact on the workplace in both the short and long term. The discussion should focus on how these technologies will impact job tasks rather than jobs as a whole.
OpenAI’s GPT-4 promises to improve on its earlier versions. Which have shown potential problems such as perpetuation of bias, factual inaccuracy, and aggressive response. However, there is still the possibility of these problems occurring in the workplace, particularly in interpersonal interactions. A large language model such as GPT-4 seeks to please the user and accept their statements, which can escalate conflicts or even lead to bullying.
OpenAI’s CEO acknowledged that the technology is still imperfect and limited and that users should be careful when relying on the results of language models, particularly in high-risk situations. Organizations will need to educate their users about the strengths and limitations of these solutions and warn against blind trust or complete lack of confidence in their effectiveness.
Users will also need to double-check for accuracy and adjust language to reflect the desired tone. In addition, training, education, and organizational change management are crucial to gaining support for these tools and ensuring their effective use.
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