I’ve been closely monitoring one of the most transformative technologies to emerge since the inception of the Internet—generative AI, powering ChatGPT, Google Bard, Bing Chat, Claud, and similar innovations. Over the past ten months, I’ve been documenting developments in this field, and now, it’s time to address both the opportunities and concerns surrounding this often-celebrated yet sometimes-feared technology.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use “ChatGPT” as a representative term for all these technologies, much like how you might ask for a “Kleenex” and receive a different brand of tissue. So, consider “ChatGPT” as a catch-all term for these platforms.
Here’s what I intend to cover:
Let’s start with the primary concern: Will AI or ChatGPT take over the world? The short answer: NO! While computers excel in solving equations and processing vast datasets in an instant, they lack the human qualities of emotion, empathy, and compassion. ChatGPT serves as a tool that empowers customer support agents, enhancing their ability to provide solutions and support to customers. Agent-assisted AI is a significant part of the future. So, why the unfounded concern and fear?
In 2017, I authored a Forbes Column titled “Will AI Take Over the World?” that featured Will Smith’s science-fiction movie, “I, Robot.” Much like today, the movie depicted machines rebelling against humans. Such portrayals in Hollywood create a vivid, but fictional, narrative of AI. It’s science fiction, with an emphasis on the “fiction.”
Another common fear revolves around AI or ChatGPT causing mass unemployment. Once again, the answer is a resounding NO! While there might be job displacement, a common occurrence with new technologies, it doesn’t equate to job elimination. Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs economists predicted that generative AI tools could impact around 10% of employed workers, approximately 300 million jobs. But it’s crucial to note that “impact” does not mean elimination. Many of those affected will transition to new roles.
History is filled with examples of new technologies initially inciting fear. Consider the introduction of the ATM by Barclays Bank in 1967. Predictions were dire, claiming it would eliminate bank teller jobs. Yet, today, tellers are still a fixture in banks, even with ATMs available. Similarly, when MTV introduced music videos in 1981, concerns arose that video would “kill” the radio star. Did it? No! AI and ChatGPT are unlikely to cause mass job loss.
The final fear we’ll revisit is whether AI or ChatGPT will make us less intelligent. I remember the introduction of calculators during my childhood. Experts speculated that children would become reliant on calculators for basic math, diminishing their ability to perform manual calculations. Eventually, teachers allowed calculator use, but they still expected us to comprehend the underlying principles. Calculators didn’t make us less intelligent; they enhanced our productivity and efficiency. AI and ChatGPT function in a similar manner. They won’t diminish our intelligence; rather, they’ll increase our productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
While there may be other concerns associated with new technology, this is par for the course. Every innovation and new product causes concerns about disruption. The choice lies in embracing change or resisting it. I opt for the former. As we navigate this new world of generative AI and platforms like GPT, let’s focus on utilizing their potential to optimize efficiency. Responsible adoption of this technology can pave the way for unprecedented advancements and efficiencies, not only in customer service but in every facet of our lives!
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