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ChatGPT turns one: What business leaders need to know

ChatGPT turns one: What business leaders need to know

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One year ago, OpenAI released the public version of ChatGPT. With millions signing up for the tool in the first few days, it certainly debuted with a splash. In the year since, hyperbolic claims around AI have dominated the media landscape, with debates raging around how transformative the new technology will be.

So, a year on, where are we with AI? Many businesses have taken strides in this area, innovating using the new technology to drive business successes. That said, we have yet to see the wholescale transformation that was promised. And, with all the hype surrounding the topic, it can be difficult for business leaders to know where they stand and what steps they should take to stay ahead.

With that in mind, we spoke to industry experts to get their insights into how far we’ve come with AI, and what the next year is likely to hold.

The end of work as we know it?

Earlier this month, at the UK’s AI Safety Summit, Elon Musk claimed that AI would put an end to work entirely. However, many experts have reacted to his claims with scepticism.

“Will AI take away all jobs?” Russell Gammon, Chief Solutions Officer at Tax Systems, questions. “No, I don’t believe so. People don’t want to buy from or interact with soulless robots, they want the human touch, so all industries will continue to need people. Implementing generative AI is about automating processes to enhance human roles, not removing them.”

“Elon Musk’s claims that AI will render humans jobless hold no merit,” agrees Hana Rizvic, Head of AI at Intellias. “We could witness employees being replaced by other humans who are skilled in AI – perhaps mirroring what we witnessed during the rise of the Internet. After all, how many modern jobs are now possible for people who can’t use the Internet? AI will soon hold the same importance in our lives, so people must take the time to embrace the technology.”

Not without risks

Of course, as much as businesses may want to charge ahead with AI, it’s important that they do not overlook it’s limitations. “For all the positive headlines generated, ChatGPT has also garnered numerous negative ones as well, particularly relating to high profile gaffs, biased content and limited knowledge of the world beyond 2021,” points out Gary Lynam, Managing Director, EMEA at Protecht.

“In order to make the most of AI’s vast potential without falling foul of its current limitations, organisations must build risk and compliance capabilities within teams to ensure the AI operating models and outcomes are fully understood and avoid any bias.”

Matt Rider, VP of Security Engineering EMEA at Exabeam, agrees that we need to be acutely aware of ChatGPT’s limitations. “GPT-4 Turbo has the most up-to-date data since its inception, but still only contains world knowledge up to April 2023. These systems also hallucinate and have a clear tendency to deliver biased responses. In fact, numerous reports have demonstrated these tools’ ability to be sexist, racist, or just generally discriminatory. Rubbish in, rubbish out.”

“To stay safe navigating these models, we need to be much more sceptical with the data we are given,” he adds. “Employees need in-depth training to keep them up to date with the security risks posed by generative AI and also what its limitations are.”

Only the beginning of the journey

If one thing is clear, it’s that there is still a great deal more of innovation in AI to come. As Skillsoft’s Murali Sastry, SVP of Engineering and AI, puts it: “We’re at the beginning of a new technological era. Although it holds massive potential for innovation, many organisations are still working out their AI strategy, and we’ve yet to see the full impact.

“Over the next 12 months, we can expect to see greater transformation in business models, how organisations work with customers, productivity and how staff do their jobs. All industries and aspects of work will be affected, from customer support and service to software development to content creation.”

Mark Wilson, Technology and Innovation Director at Node4, agrees, adding that: “ChatGPT has sparked conversations around driving innovation and transforming a variety of industries in remarkable ways. These advancements signal a new direction in tackling complex challenges.

“The impact of ChatGPT on workers and the economy as a whole is far-reaching and continues to evolve. Even the usage of the word ‘Copilot’ is interesting as it shows how big tech is positioning this technology as empowering users to do more, rather than being used to displace jobs. 2023 was just the start – we are still only getting started on an exciting journey.”

After launching into our lives just 12 months ago, ChatGPT has had a transformative impact across industries. Generative AI now lies front and centre of business strategies as we head into the new year. And, as the technology matures in 2024, we’ll undoubtedly bear witness to further innovation.

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