“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen… this is gonna do your job for you.”
This is what I was told 2 months ago at a barbecue to kick off the silly season, by a friend who works in tech. ChatGPT just launched and not many people had really heard of it before its launch. 2 months later, it has become the hottest topic across the globe and can be used for all type of requests in workplaces, universities and general life. It’s a great therapist too:
At first, I thought that it was some far-out tech that was probably a bit better version of Google or Siri, but even just a few interactions with ChatGPT make you realise that is far from the truth.
This is revolutionary. It can come back to pretty much anything you give it with a concise, informative and thought-out response, correct mistakes, and learn on the go.
Advanced AI is popping up everywhere. Microsoft has decided to throw $10 billion at OpenAI, which develops ChatGPT. ChatGPT itself identified Google's BERT, Facebook's RoBERTa, and Alibaba's ERNIE as competing advanced AI models in the ChatGPT mould. The competition, by nature, will drive each other forward in ways we might not even yet see possible.
There has always been that lingering idea that AI is threatening our normal way of life, but now with ChatGPT, it feels like an inflection point in the AI journey. Soon, AI will be everywhere: From articles we read on our phones, to the advertisements we receive, to the art we consume. It’s even possible to foresee a future internet that is predominantly written and produced by AI.
But how will this actually affect someone like me, an Account Executive at a PR Agency? I’ve learnt a lot in the past couple of months about how this tech will impact my working life. I asked ChatGPT about what it could potentially do for me in my role:
When asked about the benefits for someone at a junior level, it adds content creation, media list building, media monitoring, and data analysis to the list with the same level of detail.
I’ve used ChatGPT for all of these tasks in one way or another. It can analyse data efficiently, suggest responses in an email conversation, and help develop media targets for particular kinds of pitches - these responsibilities are essentially the basis for Public Relations.
But here’s why I don’t actually see it taking my job any time soon: It’s still not a person. The way humans interact, even in written form, is complicated and subjective. We have subtlety to our tone and language, we tailor our messages in nuanced ways to be subjective to who we are talking to, and we hold a level of personal background understanding on most topics or tasks that AI simply can’t understand.
It’s clear that ChatGPT is still very formulaic in the way it presents information, using a diluted version of the TEAL (Topic, Elaborate, Evaluate, Link) system to form its responses.
It’s a true and trusted method of paragraph construction which is great at presenting clear information, but also means its patterns are easy to spot and somewhat restrictive. Indeed, ChatGPT’s attempts at two HSC English essays recently received fail grades given their lack of examples, discussion, analysis and elaboration.
I think of AI such as ChatGPT as providing the ‘spark’ of inspiration (and in some cases the kindling) for the activities most people currently carry out in their school, work and lives. It can provide a decent level of information and background knowledge, but as it stands, it is merely an efficient assistant.
Nevertheless, its ability to communicate in a human way is more advanced than any chatbot has ever been.
Here’s what it came up with when I asked it to become the character of Kath Day-Knight from Kath N Kim for the same prompt about using PR as an Account Executive:
Who knows where this goes from here? But the sky is the limit and the creation in just the past two months have been weird and wonderful and downright incredible at times.
While at first I didn’t trust or believe in the power of ChatGPT, it’s now starting to influence more of my job. It’s best summed up, in a slightly unfunny and unsettling way, by ChatGPT, tasked with writing a joke about AI taking over:
Joseph Walker, Account Executive