The whole world is going gaga about #ChatGPT and other similar softwares. And, yes, I agree that there are merits and demerits of using it. It is very similar to the discovery of atomic energy in the last century. And, for all the Hollywood fans who have watched the Christopher Nolan blockbuster Oppenheimer, I am sure you will agree that atomic energy is a double-edged sword. If used positively, it can power cities and else, it can destroy humanity.
I think the same applies for AI technology as well. It needs to be controlled and used as an assistant rather than a master. And, it can do wonders for you…
In the last few months, I have attempted to use AI and here are my observations.
Ideation: Just as many of us have taken to using Alexa, to do mundane jobs for us, I think AI tools can help us in the ideation process in a similar manner. Just throw in a topic and it will give you some basic and some not so basic information that can be a starting point for your ideation journey. The benefit is that you are not starting from zero. You are getting a base on which you can build your ideation. Also, it will help you understand what is happening around the topic around you in the world. You may ask that Google search also does the same, however, it is simpler because it saves time. Google took longer as you had to find the keywords and search. Here the AI tool does it for you. And saves time.
Drafting: Imagine yourself as a chef in a five star. You may have a great recipe but do you really want to do the chopping and peeling of the vegetables? What if someone could do it for you. Same is the case with drafting an email or a message. AI tools can help you create the basic framework of the communication and then you can tweak it the way you want – like the special recipe of yours – and send it out to everyone. It helps you focus on what you do best and can value add. The mundane part can be given out to AI to help you with.
Scheduling: I recently attended a session on ChatGPT and there was a very interesting application someone mentioned. This was an American company who was spending a lot of time in planning who should sit next to whom in their annual parties. What they did was, they simply fed the data to chatGPT for the clients in terms of their billings and ChatGPT solved this for them in a matter of seconds. They saved time to focus on more important activities – like planning the actual event. Taking a cue from this, a lot of scheduling and processes which are routine can be developed using AI tools and these can help in focusing on core tasks which are more productive and remunerative.
Improving general knowledge about any topic: There are two kinds of knowledge broadly that we indulge in. One is transactional – this is a very shallow kind of knowledge development where we are not interested in going to great depth. These are topics we just want to know some basics where we can have a conversation going and we know the basics. For these kinds of topics, AI is a true blessing. If you just suggest a topic, the software will throw you enough data that can help you know the basics about the topic. In case you are interested in learning in depth, then you can invest in other forms of learning – like reading a book on the topic or may be even joining a course that helps you learn more about the topic. AI can also help you sample a certain topic and help you understand if you are interested in going to the depths.
What AI is not!
I think this is the most important part of my learning – to know what AI cannot or should not be used for.
- Decision making: Decision making is something that cannot be left to AI. One needs to evaluate all the data and use the past experience to take a decision. This is where human expertise comes to help. What we have learnt over the years through practice and experience cannot be replaced by AI. Here I am reminded of the famous story where someone comes to fix an engineering problem and spends 10 seconds to hit one place with the hammer and solve the problem. He charged a lot of money for it to which the payer said but you only spent 10 seconds! The engineer responded saying I spent twenty years to know where to hit the hammer in 10 seconds and you are paying me for that. This is so true for all of us.
- Up to date information: If you are looking for Up to date information, AI is not the place. It is usually a dated information that is available on the AI platforms so you need to check the relevance of the information before you actually use it
- Innovation: Innovation is looking at completely unrelated data and finding a connection and using it to improve the data and solve a problem. Since AI is data that is available to all, it cannot be trusted to think of out of the box solutions. It can still not replace Newton or Einstein to develop a new theory or develop a machine from scratch. It can help in small improvements but nothing that can change the world. At least not yet!
Having said that, I still believe that AI is a very useful tool and is going to be a friend of mankind provided it is controlled by human intelligence and keep the interests of humans first.
Happy working with AI, the future is here and it is here to stay!
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