Artificial intelligence reaches new highs with ChatGPT, the fastest-growing bot ever.
OpenAI’s bot ChatGPT just reached 100 million users, seven months faster than TikTok did. After being released to the public in November 2022, it took the bot only two months to pass a milestone the social media platform conquered in nine. What does this mean for the business world?
If individuals can find the new tool engaging and even enjoyable to use, workers look at it with some worry for their future. Artificial Intelligence has been at the centre of many discussions in the past several months, for its role in the massive layoffs operated by a number of big tech companies. Microsoft, Meta, Google and others have progressively reduced their employees, sparking questions about their reasons.
One of the top motives is surely economic, many analysts say, after the pandemic, companies have struggled to get back to the regular execution of their functions, while also keeping up with the salaries given during Covid. However, the part played by AI is not to be underestimated.
Departments like HR and Legal, seem to be some of the most affected by the improvements in automation. AI tools are now capable to scan through a CV or give a first assessment of legal issues, much faster than any human. The creative sector is also becoming very concerned about seeing their jobs taken away. ChatGPT for instance is perfectly able to generate articles of different kinds, essays on many topics, scripts and even lyrics. Copywriters, journalists, songwriters, graphic designers, and other creative professionals fear for their jobs.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a language model chatbot equipped with learning techniques, that interacts in a conversational way with the users, answering their questions, giving feedback, and providing solutions to their queries. Chatbots have been around for years now, an example is the ones used for customer service, but not all of them use artificial intelligence. ChatGPT does, and that is what makes it different from anything else. It is possible to have long conversations with the bot, about nearly any topic, with answers that demonstrate a high level of engagement and intelligence.
Nonetheless, its versatility and innovation reside in the ability to write computer codes able to compose song texts, essays and articles until now considered human exclusives, given their creative nature. Its learning algorithm is based on feedback; AI trainers were hired to interact with the tool both as a user and as bot, teaching it through conversation.
Google is said to have invested millions of dollars into OpenAI, the American artificial intelligence research laboratory that produced ChatGPT, for the realization of this bot, which seems to be connected with the big firing operation it underwent. And many other companies seem to be following its traces. Microsoft is looking to make investments in the AI sector to keep up with rivals.
Image Credit: Cinzia Appetecchia
Why does artificial intelligence affect jobs?
AI is set to change the look of the job market in the near future, by creating new positions, but also eliminating many. Some professions have already been modified and adapted to new technological processes, such as manufacturing, customer service, data entry or research. Medical activities are also increasingly being devoted to technological tools, giving way to predictions that 2023 will bring the implementation of virtual health coaches, able to analyse a person’s data and give advice on specific conditions they might be at risk of.
What has come as a surprise is that now the creative industries are being impacted as well. No one probably thought that a robot could ever effectively write songs. ChatGPT, as a language model, given the input, can generate lyrics and melodies suggestions. The user’s only role is to provide the bot with a short description of key elements the music will have to be based on, such as the genre, the topic of the text, and maybe the preferred chords to be used. A very similar procedure unfolds for the writing of an article; ChatGPT only needs to be told the basic information to put together a piece in about 30 seconds. This way, freelancers and journalists, who until now charged hundreds of pounds to publications, are rivalled by a tool that does the same job for free.
How did artificial intelligence develop in the last few years?
How did we get to this point? Now that AI is increasingly present in the everyday lives of many professionals, more attention is directed towards understanding its functionality and origin. It all started with computers, considered the earliest form of the automation of human-like activities. The end of the 1940s marked the start of a big tech revolution when machines became capable of mathematical reasoning. Since then, and from 1956 onwards, research centres in the United States, guided by the one based in Dartmouth College, continued to make experiments, building progressively advanced machines.
The first microprocessor was finalised in 1970, and the early 1990s saw the rise of the Internet. During the past few decades, AI has been applied to different fields, starting from gaming, where scenarios and interfaces got very close to being multidimensional, to medicine, where the equipment grew in sophistication. The biggest improvement of modern AI compared to its earliest form was reached when, in 2015, these tools became capable of language and image recognition, making them comparable to humans. Today their functions are even more advanced, as they went from just recognising words and images to being able to produce a text or a graphic element in a few seconds. ChatGPT is the most modern example of how far AI research has come.
AI is now used for surveillance, media production, calculations, virtual assistance and a variety of other activities, including creative ones that no one thought possible for a machine. As artificial intelligence continues its journey, many industries are re-organising their structures to align with technological progress.