To AI or not to AI. It’s not even a question.

The advent of generative AI, such as Chat GPT 3.5 and 4, Bard and others, has taken the world by storm. It’s literally changing our lives. For professionals, it’s a challenge to know when it’s ok to use AI, and when it’s not. Many companies have restricted the use for now until we know more. But it’s tempting to use in many situations. While writing this blog post, for example. Many companies use AI to write posts, to maximise SEO and to save work. I can assure you that this post is entirely written by “EI”, Erik’s “intelligence”. I personally feel blog articles are better when they have a personal perspective, and using prompted generative AI just doesn’t have the right tone for me. But that may change. It’s certainly getting better by the day. And when it comes to technology, one should really never say never.

At an AI seminar earlier this year for the Norwegian Business Association Singapore (NBAS), which I co-organised and spoke at, one of the speakers, Keith B. Carter, talked about AI as a colleague. Use it as you would use a co-worker. If you ask a co-worker to do something, and that person gives you their input, you would say thanks, let me have a look at it. Keith’s point is to do the same with AI. Get the output from the AI, then read through it and consider what’s good and what needs improvement. It’s not an oracle. But it is a great starting point for just about anything.

So, what is the best use of generative AI for regular businesses? It depends on the function, of course, but anything that requires available data, anything that is about matching information or organising it, anything in planning and time management, anything that requires calculation. It’s great for all of that. Of course, with the perspective of checking and verifying before use. I personally find that GPT is great for mapping data, writing simple code, making estimates, and planning structured information. I personally don’t like it for copywriting. Maybe it’s because I was a copywriter in advertising for many years and have a certain pride in writing everything myself. But mostly, it’s because GPT has a tendency to over-embellish, use lots of adjectives and adverbs, and just generally feels like it’s written by AI. Having said that, GPT is great for quickly compiling a synopsis of an article or a website. It’s great as a framework for combining information from multiple sources. Now that it is connected to the web, it’s very easy to find some interesting articles about a subject and create a new article based on the other articles (make sure you reference those articles in the final post, of course). Even better, if you add your perspective on the subject matter, GPT can discuss the other articles against your views and conclude in a way that you can vouch for. But again, back to Keith’s point – rewrite it with your own words, or at least mix it up a bit so that it doesn’t have that stale AI tone that is becoming all too prevalent in blog posts and LinkedIn posts these days.

So is generative AI a friend or a foe? I think it’s pretty clear that we can use it for good on our own terms. It’s not going to put anyone out of business right now – instead, it can help reduce repetitive and rudimentary tasks for professionals, who then can spend more time using qualitative human intelligence (that’s you and me) to have real-world opinions on more critical tasks.

Ps. I asked ChatGPT 4 to analyse and give feedback on this post. It seems we’re in agreement:

“The blog post offers a balanced perspective on the use of generative AI in professional settings, particularly emphasizing its utility and limitations. The author, Erik, stresses the importance of human oversight and personal touch, especially in creative tasks like copywriting. He acknowledges the efficiency of AI in data processing, simple coding, and information structuring, but remains skeptical about its use in writing original content due to its tendency to over-embellish and lack a human tone. Erik suggests using AI as a tool akin to a colleague, valuing its output as a starting point that requires human refinement and verification. The post ultimately views AI as a beneficial tool that, when used judiciously, can augment human work rather than replace it. This viewpoint encourages a thoughtful, selective approach to AI integration in business processes, highlighting the need for a blend of AI efficiency and human creativity and judgment.”

Erik Ingvoldstad is the Founder & CEO of Acoustic.
Follow Erik on Twitter @ingvoldSTAR, follow Acoustic at @AcousticGroupSG
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