The Pros and Cons of ChatGPT – Embrace Artificial Intelligence to Your Business’ Advantage
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about ChatGPT. The versatile tool has quickly set the record for the fastest-growing consumer application of all time and is one of the most discussed technologies to ever hit the market. Its introduction, along with the subsequent influx of AI tools, is bound to have far-reaching implications for the near future in areas such as productivity, market research, and data analysis, just to name a few.
As a business owner, even if you personally haven’t sat down and experimented with ChatGPT, your employees more than likely have. So educating yourself on the capabilities and dangers involved should be near the top of your to-do list. If you don’t, you risk letting others within your organization define how this new technology will be used -– with or without your knowledge.
Below, we’ll dig into all the details, give you a leg up on how to write prompts effectively, and talk about a critical cybersecurity concern surrounding ChatGPT that has recently made headlines.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an advanced language processing tool driven by AI technology. It is designed to generate conversational, human-like text in response to prompts it receives from its user.
Trained on a massive dataset, including a large amount of the available content on the internet, ChatGPT replicates the patterns, grammar, and context of human language to complete a wide array of tasks, including; responding to questions, offering suggestions, writing code, translating languages, and even composing pieces of creative writing.
It is currently open for the public to use for free as ChatGPT is in its research and feedback-collection phase, but a paid subscription version called ChatGPT Plus launched in February of 2023.
Who Owns ChatGPT?
A frequently asked question, ChatGPT is owned by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based startup.
Originally formed as a non-profit in 2015, with Elon Musk as an early investor, the company claims to seek the development of artificial intelligence for the benefit of all humanity.
After switching to a for-profit model in 2019, it accepted several investments, including, most notably, a $10 billion investment from Microsoft in 2023. No other major company has announced a significant investment as of this writing.
How to Prompt ChatGPT
When you start using ChatGPT, it’s easy to simply get lost in the excitement of providing random prompts and salivating at all the endless possibilities. However, once you try to use it to complete a specific complex task, the learning curve steepens.
To help you steer ChatGPT in the right direction, we’ll demonstrate a few helpful prompting tips by using it to assist a fictional family-owned Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm we’ve named Kitchenson & Sons.
Be Specific – When you begin interacting with ChatGPT, you will achieve vastly better results if you provide as much detail as possible about the outcome you want to achieve and the process by which you want to get there. So rather than –
– which has given you a general response that may or may not be useful, provide more context, then ask ChatGPT to wait for the information it needs from you to create a more relevant response:
Define the Format, Tone, and Perspective – By providing specifics about how you want to organize the response you get, the tone you want it to speak in, and the perspective of the reader (or author), you can direct ChatGPT toward more precise and creative outputs.
Here’s the first section of a response for our service descriptions without adding any of those:
And here’s what we get after specifying the format, tone, and perspective we want:
Whether or not this informal tone fits your business, you can see how added context can be used to hone in on the exact style and format you desire.
Create a Dialogue – At its core, ChatGPT is a chatbot that can go back and forth with you about any topic it understands. So, rather than simply giving it tasks, you can also talk to it as if it were an expert on your chosen subject, as demonstrated below:
Short on resources, I continue our dialogue by asking ChatGPT to recommend a place to start:
Expand on Ideas – Because you can dialogue with ChatGPT, you can also always hone in on bits of what it says and ask it to expand on that idea.
This is a handy way of dialing in further and further if you are using ChatGPT in a more exploratory manner.
Check In for Clarity – Sometimes, you may feel as if ChatGPT has skipped or is misunderstanding parts of your prompting. If that’s the case, just add “Do You Understand?” or a similar phrase to the end of your prompt, and ChatGPT will repeat the specifics of the task back to you before it responds. For example:
Remember that ChatGPT is a language model. This means that the language you use will always influence the outcome. So for best results, use a thesaurus (we’re serious), experiment with different verbs, and incorporate descriptive language until you develop the results you need.
The Dangers of ChatGPT
Now that you’ve got some tips under your belt and are ready to use ChatGPT to conquer the world – let’s pump the brakes. Unfortunately, as impressive as ChatGPT is, it still has a few pretty significant flaws, including:
- Inaccuracies – Referred to as “hallucinations,” ChatGPT sometimes invents facts and figures instead of stating that it does not know something.
- Knowledge Limitations – ChatGPT also lacks quite a bit of knowledge as it cannot access current information and is only trained on datasets from before a specific date (September 2021 as of this writing).
- Length Limitations – ChatGPT can only carry a conversation for so long before it returns incomplete or incoherent responses. It can also only write responses of a certain length.
- Legal/Ethical Issues – ChatGPT has been trained on internet sources that could contain copyrighted information. Google has also stated that it will downrank AI-generated content so companies can’t endlessly spam SEO rankings.
These concerns mean simply throwing some tasks at ChatGPT and then using the content or ideas it provides without further fact-checking, rewriting, or vetting them could damage your reputation.
While the above risks have always been widely known, a recent headline exposed a perhaps even more grave danger that few businesses had considered up until now.
Part of the reason such a powerful tool is currently free to the public is that anything you enter into ChatGPT is retained and used to help further train the model. So when a division of Samsung employees started dumping source code into ChatGPT and asking it to help them optimize it, they accidentally revealed confidential, proprietary information.
This cautionary tale reveals a hidden risk that should concern every business owner. If your employees feed sensitive information into ChatGPT to help them complete a task, they have exposed that information, perhaps without knowing it.
How to Integrate ChatGPT Into Your Business
There are too many use cases for ChatGPT for us to name them all here, and they are growing by the day as users experiment and invent new ways to use its versatile capabilities. A few popular ones currently are:
- Content Creation: Web content, taglines, training modules.
- Coding: Debugging, completing, or refactoring code.
- Audience Research: Analyzing customer data.
- Customer Outreach: Creating surveys, analyzing questionnaires, and creating FAQs.
- HR Assistance: Developing interview questions, onboarding materials, and chatbots for employee support.
However, as impressive as these are, because of the above mentioned risks, you can’t just outsource these functions to ChatGPT and move on. Currently, the simplest and most effective way to incorporate ChatGPT into your business is simply using it as a productivity tool. If your employees are experienced with ChatGPT, they now have a free assistant who can help them with all the tasks listed above, provided they vet the information and don’t copy the responses they receive verbatim.
If you plan on allowing your employees to use ChatGPT this way (or even if you don’t), we highly recommend drawing up an AI policy. Essentially an Acceptable Use Policy for AI tools such as ChatGPT, an AI Policy will outline how your employees can interact with ChatGPT (or similar solutions). With this policy, you can educate your staff on the potential dangers and limit your risk by giving them clear guardrails to operate within.
Regardless of where you stand on ChatGPT, you must develop policies that reflect those opinions now to avoid letting others in your company decide for you how this powerful new technology will end up being implemented.
If you need help creating an AI policy or just have questions about how to best incorporate the latest constantly evolving tech solutions into your current operation, we can help you as part of our all-inclusive managed IT services – contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.