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Artificial Intelligence

From hype to reality: What businesses need to know about generative AI

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

It’s a new era: artificial intelligence (AI) will “decimate the laptop class,” pundits say. Knowledge workers everywhere will see their jobs entirely replaced by sleek, never-resting AI systems – all those jobs in creative, technical, and credentialed fields will be taken over by our new AI overlords. 

You’ve heard stories like that before – but you’ve also seen business transformations lead to massive industry shifts and layoffs, too. How true is it this time – and what do you need to know to thrive in the new AI-supported world? In mid-2023, much of that answer revolves around the topic of generative AI. 

What is generative AI?  

Generative AI is an incredible tool that is transforming how businesses operate in the modern era. It’s a subfield of artificial intelligence that focuses on creating content from scratch, such as text, music, images or video. Generative AI can be leveraged to automate both mundane and complex tasks, provide valuable insights into complex regulatory regimes, and create custom versions of products based on customer needs.  

Large language models are a type of generative AI that process vast amounts of text and generate new text based on the patterns it identifies. These models are being used to generate news articles, help improve natural-language processing systems, and even generate scientific papers. One of the most well-known large language models is GPT-3 and GPT-4, which were developed by OpenAI and have been trained on over 45 terabytes of text data. GPT-3 has been used to create webpages, write essays, answer questions, and even generate code for programming tasks. 

Using large language models with generative AI allows businesses to reduce labor costs while increasing efficiency and developing more personalized customer experiences. The ability to quickly analyze large amounts of data gives organizations insight into potential trends in their industry or market segment before they become common knowledge or shared among competitors. With its powerful algorithms and large language processing capabilities, generative AI could drastically change how businesses operate for the better in the near future. 

Early adopters: What the legal industry can tell us about AI transformation 

Professionals in industries just starting on their AI transformation may want to look at the example of the legal industry, where AI tools have been increasingly used over the past decade. Generative AI solutions allow businesses to streamline mundane tasks, generate legal documents and contracts, identify potential areas of legal risk or dispute, and provide valuable insights into case law. AI-driven systems may help lawyers craft more effective arguments more easily and identify potential outcomes of legal disputes and appeals. This could reduce the effort needed for legal professionals to draft documents, while increasing efficiency and accuracy. 

While AI has been part of the legal research process for years already, generative AI offers even more opportunity for legal practitioners – and other professionals in similar fields – to understand complex laws and regulations quickly. By automating document review processes with its natural language processing capabilities, it could detect themes and answer questions in a fraction of the time – making it much easier for lawyers to identify areas of potential risk or dispute. Generative AI also has the ability to analyze existing documents, such as contracts, to suggest amendments that are compliant with new regulations or legislation. 

Extrapolating those current and projected capabilities beyond the legal field can give other industries ideas for which tasks can be reliably automated, which research processes sped up, and which kinds of documents can be assembled more easily by generative AI tools. Like productivity software from decades past, this technology has the potential to drastically transform working lives of professionals—making it easier to stay ahead of the work, and potentially the competition. 

Beyond legal, what are the real-world applications of generative AI? 

Rest assured, the power of Generative AI is being explored in a variety of other fields and industries, and you can expect to see a spectrum of outcomes. This technology could be used for something as practical as real-time translation to acts of music and art creation. It’s also likely that the initial buzz will subside, and future applications will be baked into better and more natural versions of the virtual assistants and algorithms we’ve all grown to accept.

Companies across all industries are beginning to explore ways to reduce human effort and time, while retaining quality and trust in their brands and services. It will be a balancing act, but one most businesses seem to consider worth pursuing. 

The business impact of generative AI 

Generative AI is poised to become an essential component of any successful business. Whether by automation, reduced effort, faster results, or deeper insights, leveraging this powerful technology will impact industries far and wide in the very near future, and for years to come. For more information about ChatGPT and generative AI, read our companion article on the current state of artificial intelligence in 2023 and visit our hub on artificial intelligence. 

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