ChatGPT is the latest example of AI-based tools that are changing the face of the internet and pushing boundaries in how we do business. There are many language processing bots out there, but ChatGPT – developed by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft – Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing Chat, are now advancing at lightning speed.
These tools have been developed specifically for generating conversational-style text that can be used in all sorts of business applications. In this article, we examine the pros and cons of using AI chatbots for your business.
The benefits of ChatGPT
When used in the right way, chatbot tools like ChatGPT carry huge opportunities for companies. They can shift the needle in terms of productivity, automating repetitive work and processes. Here are some of the ways in which they can be applied:
- Compiling research
- Drafting marketing content
- Writing computer code
- Automating repetitive tasks
- Streamlining the customer onboarding process
- Customer services
Customer service is being flagged as a huge area for potential growth in the use of AI technology. Businesses can use it to generate automated replies to customer queries, improving response time. But, on the flip side, customer service staff may increasingly be taken out of the picture, and there is growing concern among many sectors that AI may replace humans in many roles – which brings us to the pitfalls of using generative AI.
The risks of ChatGPT
While the advancement of AI chatbots has been met with excitement in many areas, an equal amount of fear is growing as people, industry and governments realise just how powerful this technology is. Naturally, many are concerned it will replace people’s jobs. Anyone who writes or provides any kind of information – customer service agents, marketers, web developers, content creators, legal assistants, and journalists, to name a few – could expect their livelihoods to be impacted by chatbots as they progress further.
There’s also a big fear over the security of using AI chatbots. Experts have warned of their ability to spread vast amounts of misinformation in such a convincing, human style that it will become increasingly harder to distinguish what is true and what is not. Cyber criminals will be able to leverage this to their advantage, developing more authentic-sounding scams, and typical signs of fraud such as poor spelling or grammar will be much harder to spot.
There are big concerns around people’s privacy, too. As a user, every time you input a request into a chatbot, it is learning. You’re sharing not only the subject matter you’re interested in but also your device information and data that can reveal your IP address and location. It can gather data on your social media activity which can then link to your email address and phone number. Dr Lucian Tipi, Associate Dean at Birmingham City University says: “As data processing gets better, so does the need for more information and anything from the web becomes fair game.”
Such are the risks that some big businesses such as Amazon and JP Morgan have banned or restricted staff use of ChatGPT. Even governments are cautious – Italy recently became the first Western country to ban ChatGPT over concerns that it breached Europe’s privacy regulations, and other EU countries are planning on heavily restricting its use. In the UK, the government has asked regulators in different sectors to apply existing regulations to AI. Even the developers themselves recommend caution. ChatGPT’s FAQs state: “We are not able to delete specific prompts from your history. Please don’t share any sensitive information in your conversations.”
ChatGPT: Friend or foe?
When it comes to concerns over people’s livelihoods, it’s worth remembering that for every technological breakthrough in recent human history – from phones to cars to the internet – more jobs have been created in new areas than have been destroyed. So if you’re a business owner with a nervous customer service team, or if you’re a freelancer worrying that work will dry up, think again. Generative AI can help reduce some of the leg work leaving you more time to focus on the important parts of your job such as building meaningful customer engagement, refining content, giving more time to creativity, and developing new products or services.
While chatbots can be useful at work for certain tasks, use them with caution. Avoid inputting any kind of sensitive data as you could be breaching GDPR and don’t input confidential company information of any sort. Log when you use it and the searches you enter. The Harvard Business Review recently published an article on how businesses can use AI responsibly. Rather like a pet python, handle it with caution.
Ultimately, the more chatbots are used for the things we read every day, the more ‘vanilla’ the online world will become. Because of that, the application of creativity, strategic evaluation and critical thinking – those intrinsic human qualities that AI tools lack – will become all the more essential in your business communications. And authentic human connection will have greater importance than ever.
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