Artificial intelligence (AI), to some, is the bad genie that will unleash disinformation, job losses and other chaos onto mankind. For Jonathan Peter Kestle, CLU, B Com, ChatGPT is like a college intern who majors in English.
The nine-year MDRT member from Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, prompted the AI chatbot to write a table of contents for a marketing white paper to share with clients. But before submitting that request, he told the chatbot, I’m a 40-year-old financial planner living in Ontario with a wife and kids, and our small practice is in a small town with lots of farms around it. He also uploaded his LinkedIn CV and fed it his practice’s value proposition statement to get a result that was tailored more for his office than he would have received if he had merely asked it to write about tips and advice for Canadians drawing down their income during retirement. ChatGPT answered instantly with prose.
“You use it to get your skeleton, and then you put meat on the bones after you get your table of contents and, say for chapter one, section one, write 500 on that topic,” Kestle said. “It will do that, and then you can adjust it to taste.”
Kestle worked through the rest of the sections in the same manner, and what would have taken hours of research and writing rough drafts was on his screen in just minutes. He also feeds his bullet point notes from client meetings and prompts the chatbot to write a thank-you email with a recap of what was discussed, what clients are supposed to do next and what he is responsible for. Kestle spends $20 a month for ChatGPT’s premium subscription, which is a savings compared with paying “a $50,000 salary for an employee who is an English major because AI is good with English. It is a language model.”
What is AI?
AI has been around in some form since the 1950s, and most consumers have had contact with the technology at least through a chatbot on a customer service website or a music playlist predicted by a digital provider like Spotify. What’s making a lot of noise recently is generative AI, a type of machine learning capable of language processing tasks like answering questions, summarizing texts, generating images and video, and writing computer code in response to instructions, called prompts, submitted by a user.
Large language models, or generative pretrained transformer (GPT), is a neural network trained on massive amounts of data. Since GPT-1 was created in 2018 to the release of GPT-4 in March 2023, generations of these models have been trained on increasingly enormous datasets and have exponentially improved the ability to create content that looks like it was produced by a human. ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, is the first publicly available chatbot that used GPT-3. Its more powerful GPT-4 version is available with a paid subscription. Other generative AI chatbots include Bard from Google, Microsoft’s Bing Chat, and Claude and Claude 2 by Anthropic. All are available in multiple languages with more on the way.
Innovating with AI
Generative AI is being hailed as the biggest innovation since the internet, yet some AI researchers and decision theorists have called for a pause, even a shutdown, in training AI systems for fear of what super-smart intelligence could do in the hands of bad actors. There’s also much hand-wringing over the disruption of livelihoods.
A Goldman Sachs report projects that 300 million full-time jobs, 18% of work globally — and white-collar workers in particular — could be automated over the next decade, while the World Economic Forum contends that AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025. One can be tossed between being wary or in wonder about AI, but perhaps one ideal approach to this technology, said Josh Hotsenpiller, a vocal AI adopter, is to collaborate with it and fact-check it, but don’t be dependent on it.
“The threat is if you don’t allow AI to evolve your thinking, leading and execution, you will be in a (job) function that will be replaced,” said Hotsenpiller, president of JUNO, a provider of on-demand digital platforms. “However, if you use it, you will emerge out of that function and into a place of leadership.”
This was excerpted from the November/December 2023 Round the Table article “Artificial intelligence: Friend or foe.” Read the entire article on mdrt.org./learn to find out how MDRT members are using AI to thrive, and how you can, too.