As digitalization continues to permeate everyday life, data archiving has become increasingly vital for a variety of reasons. With the emergence of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, the landscape has again shifted dramatically. But what are the implications of this breakthrough, and how will it impact digital archiving?
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a large language model that gives detailed responses to questions and statements, to a hitherto unseen level of sophistication. Early adopters have marveled at the program’s capabilities, from drafting detailed essays in a matter of moments, to conjuring poetry with unfaltering rhyme schemes, and even writing functional code.
ChatGPT is owned and developed by AI research and deployment company, OpenAI. The organization is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2015 by a who’s who of tech titans including Elon Musk and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. The company’s mission statement was to ensure that Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) would benefit all of humanity, and to advance it safely.
Back in 2015, OpenAI President Greg Brockman met with Yoshua Bengio, one of the "founding fathers” of deep learning. They drew up a list of whom they considered the ten best researchers in the field. Brockman ultimately hired nine of them as the first employees in December 2015. Fast forward to 2023, OpenAI employs 375 employees (at the last count).
Is it convincing?
It’s likely that you’ve tried it out; debating controversial topics, querying the intangibles, ‘testing’ whether or not it can complete a work task for you. One thing becomes clear pretty quickly; infinity is daunting. What should you ask when you can ask anything?
Whatever you do ask, it’s likely that the response will be well informed, logically argued, and promptly delivered. Unreasonable requests for personal advice may be met with a disclaimer, “As an AI language model, I cannot make decisions for you, but I can provide some general reasons why…”. Even when you set it up to fail, it provides a calm, clear-headed retort that leaves you feeling decidedly less smug, and in fact rather silly.
What are the limitations?
Despite its convincing rhetoric, ChatGPT is, at times, deeply flawed.
Quite simply, its statements can’t always be trusted. This is a reasonably devastating indictment for a tool which invites such vehement scrutiny, and has been acknowledged by OpenAI, who admit that "ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers."
ChatGPT has a vast wealth of knowledge because it was trained on all manner of web content, from books and academic articles to blog posts and Wikipedia entries. Alas, the internet is not a domain renowned for its factual integrity.
Furthermore, ChatGPT doesn't actually connect to the internet to track down the information it needs to respond. Instead, it simply repeats patterns it has seen in its training data. In other words, ChatGPT arrives at an answer by making a series of guesses, which is part of the reason it can argue wrong answers as if they were completely true, and give different (incorrect) answers to the same questions.
Another major challenge is the potential for the model to generate biased or harmful responses, having learned these biases from its training data. ChatGPT can only ever be as well-balanced as its source material, and with a diverse cocktail of prejudices feeding into the web content that has shaped it, a neutral ‘personality’ seems unlikely.
Is ChatGPT compliant?
As with many less regulated industries, ChatGPT could help streamline many processes in financial services, from customer service to fraud detection, and even the compliance function itself. However, when large sums of money are involved, there are major implications to its propensity for misinformation.
Following its well-documented issues with another third-party application, WhatsApp, it’s unsurprising that JPMorgan Chase has moved quickly to ban its employees from using ChatGPT amidst privacy concerns. JPMorgan staff were asked not to enter sensitive information into the chatbot, opting instead to “tread carefully” around the technology. After all, ChatGPT makes it clear when you use the program (and in its FAQ) that the information being digested helps to train the bot. Regulating bodies like the SEC will be monitoring the situation closely, and will have a position on the use of ChatGPT within a firm, to stipulate those parameters for the early adopters. With recordkeeping requirements under the microscope, regulated firms are understandably risk-averse and looking to the regulator for direction.
As Matt Levine explains in his Bloomberg Money Stuff column, “If you want to get advice from a robot about how to invest — or if you want the robot to help you write a presentation for clients — then you had better communicate with the robot using official channels! Typing in the ChatGPT box isn’t an official channel, so it's not allowed.”
Moment of truth
As ChatGPT’s limitations are now well established, it would be reasonable to wonder whether it can effectively serve any purpose at all. After all, when conducting research, the only thing less useful than a blatant lie is perhaps a convincing one.
While ChatGPT isn’t a credible source, that doesn’t render it worthless. Take marketing; an industry centered around the regular creation of informative, assertive content. When deadlines are tight and brainpower is low, asking the chatbot’s thoughts on a particular topic could provide the elusive spark that kickstarts the creative process. The chatbot is better suited to provide inspiration rather than education, and while some fact-checking may be needed, that’s certainly more efficient and less daunting for many than the ominous blank page.
When you break down the ways in which marketers can leverage ChatGPT, it becomes clear how indispensable the tool is likely to become. Not only can it draft emails, social media posts and blogs, it can also optimize them based on whichever criteria is most relevant to that medium - SEO-optimized blogs, email subject line optimization, social posts centered around trending keywords. This saves marketers an incredible amount of work, especially as it cuts out a lot of the AB testing requirements - there is enough data in the ChatGPT system for its recommendations to be taken seriously.
Picking a side
The topic of brand positioning on this issue is interesting, and rather delicate. To the more conservative audience, adoptees could be charged with ushering in a sci-fi dystopia. However, it can also be positioned as innovation, adaptability, and a refusal to be left behind.
As far as partners go, the most valuable Food & Beverage brand in the World is a great start. Coca Cola has signed a deal partnering with OpenAI, with CEO James Quincy stating that the company is "excited to unleash the next generation of creativity offered by this rapidly emerging technology".
"We see opportunities to enhance our marketing through cutting-edge AI," Quincy said, "along with exploring ways to improve our business operations and capabilities. Through all evolutions of communication: TV, radio, outdoor, all the way to coupons over 100 years ago, we’ve always tried to stay on the front edge of what’s new and engaging with consumers,”
“We must embrace the risks. We need to embrace those risks intelligently, experiment, build on those experiments, drive scale – but not taking risks is a hopeless point of view to start from”.
Isn’t Chat the main thing?
ChatGPT’s ability to immediately provide detailed responses to numerous users makes it a useful tool for managing customer queries and enhancing overall satisfaction. The chatbot can communicate in multiple languages and provide 24/7 support, covering customers in different timezones, or those requiring assistance outside office hours.
Remember, ChatGPT’s language model is not designed to necessarily provide an accurate response to customer queries, and it operates based on a dataset which hasn’t been updated since September 2021. This is a major issue in a customer service role, where accurate, up-to-date information is essential. As in marketing, the tool can be best leveraged to complement human representatives, answering common questions and quickly providing information on products and services, freeing employees to handle more complex inquiries.
What this does mean is that inaccuracies will occur from time to time. It remains to be seen whether this will be deemed acceptable collateral damage for the efficiency it creates. If it is, chatbot conversations are likely to require strict capture moving forward, so that accountability can be taken when mistakes occur.
Preserving your voice
If the CEO of Coca Cola has identified chatbots as a means to scale marketing content, there’s a good chance he may be onto something. If a brand is already well-established and reputable, it’s worth considering that the program may in fact do their marketing for them; perpetuating the notion that they are leaders in their field/ the best at what they do/ a great company to work for - delete as applicable. There’s certainly scope for a reduction in paid ad spend if ChatGPT is inclined to drop their name in a recommendation to prospects.
Brands have a clear incentive to keep a long-term record of their customer-facing activity, to inform brand direction (through performance monitoring) and inspire future campaigns. However, with the help of tools like ChatGPT, they’ll be continuously creating and publishing large volumes of digital content at a speed which is hard to keep track of.
In a digital age where we are always hunting for and digesting new information, the need to create unique content is in greater demand. Thus, our digital history is expanding exponentially. The preservation of this should be taken as seriously as we take the safeguarding of tangible artifacts filling museums around the world.
Like the proverbial runes on a cave wall, this is our contemporary realm of communication. Our digital footprint gives future generations insight into our evolution, and in a world where we disregard old content in pursuit of new, there is not just an option, but an obligation, to archive and store this cache of insight.
N.B. Since this article was drafted, Chat GPT-4 has launched! It’s all moving very quickly. According to OpenAI, this iteration “improves upon many of the criticisms users had, but will still ‘hallucinate’ facts”.
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