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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

It’s Time to Address the Big Artificial Elephant in the Room: Is AI Going to Take Your Job?

It’s Time to Address the Big Artificial Elephant in the Room: Is AI Going to Take Your Job?

AI is suddenly everywhere these days. All of our software is suddenly “powered by AI” or taking advantage of artificial intelligence for new features. Social media posts and videos are going viral about how AI is creating works of art, writing screenplays, and composing music.

That brings up the question—is AI here for our jobs? Will it be replacing employees and saving businesses a ton of money?

Some Businesses Are Already Betting on AI

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna made the decision to pause hiring, thinking AI chatbots could potentially replace nearly 8,000 workers. Goldman Sachs proffered a prediction that 300 million full-time employees will be replaced by AI. Hollywood is shrugging off the writers’ strike by promising that AI will write the hit new shows over the next year.

Disruption thanks to technology happens all the time, but it has never happened this quickly, and even for those of us who are very technically inclined, the technology behind AI is more or less on a whole different level compared to what we’ve seen in the past.

How is AI a Revolutionary New Technology?

The last few years have been interesting, to say the least, with emerging technologies. You have the sudden rise and fall of cryptocurrencies, the whole NFT thing where one moment a jpeg of a cartoon ape was seemingly valuable until it wasn’t, and the promise that Facebook was going to make us attend work meetings in virtual reality before deciding that probably wasn’t a great idea. All of these things were backed by truckloads of money and enthusiasm, and while cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the vague concept of Facebook’s metaverse are all still a thing, they aren’t the world-changing technologies presented on the label.

Look back over a century ago with the adoption of the automobile. It was a massive game changer, but as the first cars started to replace horses, it opened up vast new industries and jobs. Infrastructure needed to be built, mechanics needed to understand the inner workings of this new technology, and before you know it, we have things like car insurance and car dealerships and the prosperity signifier of “two cars in every garage.” 

That’s likely the fate for AI, but with a huge, bold asterisk.

Right now, AI is very unique to these other recent technologies in a few ways. 

AI Isn’t Monetized, Yet.
It can be. There are apps that connect to ChatGPT that cost money, and a marketplace around AI is slowly coming to be, but it’s not, inherently, a paid-for product.

You aren’t buying AI like you buy a car, or invest in cryptocurrency, or order an Uber. That means that someday, eventually, everyone depending on AI right now will likely have to start paying for it in the future. We don’t really know what that looks like yet.

AI Offers, More or Less, Unlimited Potential.
There were a lot of interesting use cases for the NFT—after all, it’s basically just a very complex receipt ledger. It could be used for memberships, standardized personal data, deeds and titles, and so much more. Most of the world instead used it to buy and trade weird little pictures until it got old. AI keeps impressing. 

We’ve seen users generate art with AI. We’ve seen people task AI to write books and stories. We’ve seen AI take Freddie Mercury’s voice to make him sing other songs. It’s hard to look at such a wide scope of capabilities and not see something interesting about it.

AI Does Things That Lots of Folks Can’t Do, Fairly Competently
AI is fairly good at understanding rules, systems, and standards. For example, it’s helpful for programmers because AI can easily understand everything about a well-documented programming language. It’s helpful for people in the legal industry because AI can, in theory, know every letter of the law and quickly regurgitate information that would otherwise take a person time to look up. It can make logical connections and find patterns that a person might not see at first glance.

And AI can write—something that a lot of business owners don’t have the time, talent, or resources for, and really should be doing.

But How Good is AI Right Now, Really?

I don’t really know if I want to intentionally pay to see a movie that was written by a computer. That wouldn’t really be something that draws me in. I’ll be curious, sure, but I won’t be the first in line.

The same goes with website chatbots and automated customer support, generated website content, and everything else that a lot of people are asking of AI these days. Call me old fashioned, but when I have pre-sales questions for a complicated product, I find that I really do need to talk to a human to get the answers I need. I don’t doubt the capabilities of what a properly tuned AI-powered chatbot can do, but when a human can’t immediately answer a question, they can usually turn to their supervisor and get an answer. A chatbot can just be polite and try to move me forward.

Or, like just about everything else about AI, I could be pleasantly surprised by a chatbot tomorrow and change my whole opinion on it.

The point is, this is still very much an emerging technology, and AI is not ready to start replacing your workers. Companies that are doing so are risking bad press, and it could result in blemishes to your reputation. While my example at the top of this article about IBM probably won’t result in IBM suddenly going bottoms up over the news that they replaced thousands of workers with AI, we’re not all IBM. If a smaller company starts putting a bad taste in the mouths of consumers, it can really shake things up.

Even the CEO of OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT, has come out saying that the new technology shouldn’t be relied on for “anything important.” He stresses that while ChatGPT is powerful and knows a lot, it can’t fully be trusted to be accurate.

Want proof?

A tool called ZeroGPT, an AI tool developed to tell if a piece of content was generated by ChatGPT, using the same basic technology, claiming to have a 98% success rate, flags the US Constitution as having a 92.26% chance of being generated by an AI.

We’re in the wild west of this technology, folks.

AI is Going to Help Your Business, But Curb Your Expectations

If your line of business applications are starting to boast AI tools, that’s great. Dig into them and use them. If you work with Adobe Photoshop every day, check out that new beta that includes the AI-powered Generative fill options (Adobe will generate backgrounds and other elements in your images by sourcing from 300 million licensed Adobe Stock images, and will manage to still pay those that provide the source images based on usage—it’s really cool).

AI tools like ChatGPT and others are going to be remarkable, but don’t bet your business on them just yet. They aren’t going to replace a human all on their own, but they will supplement what your current humans can do.

Let’s Talk About Making Your Business More Productive

Sure, firing up ChatGPT in your web browser probably isn’t going to drastically lower the costs of payroll, but modern software and technology can increase your organization’s productivity, save you time and money, and help you do more with less.

Let’s sit down and discuss your business, and talk about methods that can help you grow and get more done! Give us a call today at (512) 343-8891.

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