By Chit U. Juan
There is ChatGPT or GPT-4, but what is GPT anyway? GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer a program which has the ability to perform natural language processing tasks, such as answering questions, summarizing texts and making term papers! Yes, this is the world of Artificial Intelligence or AI, and like the Promethean events of history — the Industrial Revolution, for example — we are now in a different world where an invention can be a tool or a weapon. It can be good and it can be bad.
How will we now deal with this, given that in the business world we have common concerns like asking people to write up something creative for our marketing, for example? Marketing and communications departments may do shortcuts by using ChatGPT. How will we know if our people are truly competent, or are using this new tool to impress us about their knowledge which may actually be from a borrowed brain like AI?
In Human Resources, we may have performance evaluations written up by a robot. We may get reports from our field staff that they never wrote themselves. And as ChatGPT may have better grammar than some of today’s graduates, it can then also be a tool for MSMEs who cannot afford to hire additional staff to make marketing write-ups or copywriting. But beware and be aware that you, as the owner, will have to double check what this ChatGPT writes for you.
The more pressing concern is the use of ChatGPT or AI in schools. Students may no longer do research and just depend on this app to make their term papers, academic reports, and other school requirements. How will a teacher know if the work submitted was created from a student’s knowledge bank or by AI? How will a student develop his or her natural ability to create or write?
So, while we can use its features to make life easier for some, it can also be a concern for many as we enter this new age similar to the Industrial Revolution, or the development of the printing press. Thomas Friedman, a noted columnist of the New York Times, described this period we are entering as Promethean —referring to the demi-god in Greek mythology who changed the way the other Gods were perceived.
Now, what bad things can ChatGPT help spread? It could be disinformation. ChatGPT or similar apps can easily manufacture news and can also spread fake news. As it can create words and paragraphs in seconds, it can also translate the same simultaneously into other languages, making the viral spread very fast and uncontrollable. So, this is a matter of concern for geo-political issues, as well as something as entertaining as who is dating who in Hollywood.
In this period, we all have to see how apps like these and how AI can be a blessing and a curse. I tried to check my name on ChatGPT and it gave me an entrepreneur award I had never gotten! The written facts were 75% correct, but could be improved. As a small entrepreneur, it may help me write up some facts, but as a writer, it may not sound like how I would write. But definitely, for many MSMEs, it is worth looking into should you need a quick write-up for your website or your applications for various needs.
What worries me is the side of it that can be used as a weapon. As if we did not have enough issues about DISINFORMATION, here now is a quicker way to spread untruths. Here now is a way to really rewrite history or completely change it. “Take it with a grain of salt” as they say, but this time, we not only have to take grains but maybe pounds of the mineral to ward off fake news.
Maybe we should all go back to Creative Writing classes as an exercise to make us not need the app. We can also teach our people to stretch their minds and think out-of-the-box rather than depend on a robot to think for us. AI is good for intelligent cars, intelligent equipment, and smart gadgets. But not for creativity.
As a business person, as a management professional, think about how ChatGPT or GPT-4 and the like can affect your business. Taking the macro point of view, think about how it can change the business environment you are in. Or think about how it can change governments. Truly there is an effect on how we used to do things and how we will do them now.
So, while we look for what ChatGPT says about our business, we have to learn to wade through tons of misinformation, too. We have to be ready with improving our digital footprint or flood the internet with facts so our results will come out nearer to the truth. Robots or AI can only do so much. As humans, we can do more, and create a real world based on fact and truths.
It is time to write about ourselves, if need be, if only to let AI pick up more facts about us. So, try checking on Google what has been written about your business or your personal details. Then ask ChatGPT. Chances are, you may also get an unearned award like I did!!!
In the meantime, everyone beware and be aware of this period we are entering, hopefully with eyes wide open. There is a robot out there that can do more than just moving like a human. This one thinks (or so it thinks) like a human. Let’s all use it as a tool and not as a weapon.
Chit U. Juan is a vice-chair of the MAP Environment Committee. She is president of NextGen Organization of Women Corporate Directors, and founder of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle.