Generative AI: Pros and Cons
Since the release of ChatGPT and similar platforms, there’s certainly been a lot of hype around generative AI. Some believe it’s the new tech holy grail while others fear it may threaten livelihoods or even industries. At One North, we did what we always do. We dove in—our Strategy, Design, and Technology practices did some research and experimentation, then came together and debated. A lot.
As digital experts, it’s our job to understand new technology, its capabilities, and its implications. So, what’s our take? While it’s still early on, we believe there are a lot of opportunities to use AI responsibly.
How businesses can use AI—the pros
Simply put, AI technologies can do things faster, making them great for automating repetitive or tedious tasks. Here are a few time-saving uses:
- Research: Instead of sifting through multiple answers on a search engine results page, ChatGPT authors a synthesized response where you can keep refining your search by asking for more specific detail.
- Content & image creation: Generative AI can quickly create content—such as job descriptions or social media posts—that you can take and polish up to better fit your business needs. With the right prompts, tools like ChatGPT can customize the content for specific audiences. Additionally, there are powerful software applications, such as Adobe Firefly or DALL-E 2, that enable image generation. However, something to keep in mind is that there is an ongoing debate around the ownership of these generated images, as they are derived from potentially copyrighted source material.
- Knowledge acquisition: With just a few prompts, you can get familiar with any subject. This is helpful for learning how to use a new tool or understanding a new industry, for example.
- Synthesizing information: You can input a mass amount of content or data into Gen AI tools, and it will consolidate and summarize the information in minutes. Just be sure the content isn’t proprietary or confidential.
- Brainstorming: Tools like ChatGPT are great for generating baseline ideas that can provide a good starting point or inspire more innovative solutions.
What to look out for—the cons
Generative AI, like any new technology, has certain weaknesses and challenges. Here are a few to be wary of:
- Accuracy and reliability: Gen AI is in its early stages, so there are bugs that need to be worked out. It can output incorrect facts and biased information, so, just like anything on the internet, you can’t trust it 100 percent.
- Cannot replace human context & creativity: Generative AI is not meant to completely replace human intuition, inspiration, and ideas. It only generates content based on existing data. AI cannot think beyond the data it has access to, causing concern for plagiarism instances with users who copy + paste its content directly.
- Biased or fabricated information: Because AI technologies scrape information from the internet, they can inadvertently replicate biases existing in the source data, or pass along false information. For example, a recent New York Times article highlighted the biases shown by a chatbot in a long conversation between a user and Bing’s new AI tool. In another example, a lawyer who used ChatGPT when filing a response to a case inadvertently presented fake cases to the court.
- Prompts can hold you back: Generated responses are only as good as the prompts you ask. For example, if your question is vague, the answer will be vague. So, the more specific the better. To improve your prompt writing, there are several guides online, like this one from Wired.
- Data security & privacy: Anything online has the risk of privacy and security concerns. In general, it’s wise to refrain from inputting any sensitive customer or company data.
Our take: the pros outweigh the cons.
It’s just the beginning. There are numerous AI-powered tools coming to market every day. New releases, such as Microsoft’s “Copilot” for Office users, will assist with generating documents, emails, presentations, and more. Tools like this will prove to change the way we work, and, with the right care, they open up a world of possibility.
We know generative AI is very promising, but for us to realize its full value, enterprises will need to stand up their own models, hosting, and tools/applications. While there are limitations and concerns, generative AI tools have the potential to revolutionize the ways we work—improving efficiency, productivity, and enabling more time to focus on high-value, meaningful tasks.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel | Unsplash
Vinu is the Director of Solutions Architecture at One North, defining technical architecture for complex marketing/IT systems and products, acting as a technology consultant for clients and working with One North’s Strategy and Design teams to define and implement solutions that will serve the client’s objectives now and in the future.
As Director of UX, Zach helps clients maximize the effectiveness of their digital properties by ensuring they’re human-centered and tailored to their most important audiences. He considers it his personal responsibility to represent the voice of the user on every project, as they are often the only one not at the table during the design process.