Feb 6 (Insider) – OpenAI’s ChatGPT and similar AI tools may not replace jobs anytime soon. But they can help workers across many industries – from tech to media – do their jobs better and more quickly.
“It’s almost like a bit of a productivity boost that some of these occupations might get,” Anu Madgavkar, a partner at economic research firm McKinsey Global Institute, told Insider.
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The buzzy conversational chatbot – which attracted one million users soon after its launch last November – has been used to generate real estate advice, provide tips on how to start a business, and even write music in the style of individual artists, all with varying levels of success.
Investors have been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into industry-specific generative AI tools out of the belief that these have the potential to solve problems that, say, hospitals and marketing departments may encounter.
Sam Altman, the CEO of the firm behind ChatGPT, would agree, as he previously said that “generative text is something we all need to adapt to.”
“We adapted to calculators and changed what we tested for in math class, I imagine,” Altman said during an interview with StrictlyVC in January. “This is a more extreme version of that, no doubt, but also the benefits of it are more extreme, as well.”
Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute who has researched the impact of AI on the workforce, echoes the sentiment.
“It’s absolutely true that AI applications like ChatGPT can very much improve workers’ lives,” Muro told Insider.
Workers should be careful when using AI tools, as the tech can be prone to misinformation, and it can remove the human touch from tasks like writing. Most companies also haven’t established formal rules around employee use of the AI tool, though firms like Microsoft – a major partner and investor of ChatGPT’s parent Open AI – have recently given employees the green light to use the chatbot for work purposes, as long as they don’t share sensitive information with the site.
Here’s how you can use ChatGPT and AI to help make your work life easier.
Use it as a Google alternative for research
How many times a day do you Google something at work? With ChatGPT, that may become less common.
In fact, the search-engine giant is reportedly worried that you’ll eventually put your queries into ChatGPT instead. The company issued a “code red” over the bot’s potential threat to its search business.
“Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption,” Gmail creator Paul Buchheit tweeted on Wednesday, adding that AI will be able to “instantly do what would take many minutes for a human” to do using a search engine like Google.
While ChatGPT isn’t always accurate — its knowledge only goes to 2021 — it can analyze data from millions of websites to try and answer whatever question it receives. Plus, it gets smarter the more it’s used.
Rather than providing users a series of links to sift through — many of which are high up on the page simply due to advertising spend — ChatGPT provides the user with a quick answer. And if the answer is too complicated, ChatGPT can explain it in simpler terms if you ask it to.
Having quick access to information could ultimately make your job more enjoyable by freeing up time for idea generation.
“Some of the more boring parts of the job may disappear,” Oxford economist Carl Benedikt Frey told Insider. “We may begin focusing more on generating the right ideas, asking the right questions, things that are more interesting.”
Use it to write essays, speeches, cover letters, songs, and employee evaluations
As many students with essay assignments have already realized, ChatGPT can be quite useful as a writing tool.
While some teachers are trying to crack down on AI’s use, UPenn professor Ethan Mollick recently told NPR that he’s requiring his students to use ChatGPT.
He said he thinks it can help students generate ideas and improve their writing, adding that the tool could help save time when writing letters and emails, as well.
“There’s a lot of positives about it,” Mollick said during the NPR interview. “That doesn’t minimize the fact that cheating and negativity are there, but those have been there for a long time.”
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online course provider Coursera, told CNN he uses ChatGPT to write work emails and even speeches.
“I use it as a writing assistant and as a thought partner,” Maggioncalda said.
Creatives looking for inspiration for their books or songs have also asked ChatGPT to produce some rough drafts for them.
TikTok user @frontlineleadership, who works as an executive coach, said that he even used ChatGPT to write employee evaluations and was satisfied with the outcome.
“I only had to make slight adjustments here and there,” the TikToker said in a January post. “It literally saved me probably 12 hours of work.”
“ChatGPT is a game changer,” he said.
Use it to analyze vast amounts of data
Many roles involve various forms of data analysis, and ChatGPT can process a lot of information quickly.
“Analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of language-based data and information is a skill that you’d expect generative AI technologies to ramp up on,” Madgavkar told Insider.
“If you’re an academic, it’s quite nice that you don’t have to do statistical analysis by hand,” Benedikt Frey said. “You can produce a lot of more stuff.”
It could also help those trying to use data to make investment decisions, Muro, a senior fellow at the Brooking Institute, previously told Insider.
“AI can identify trends in the market, highlight what investments in a portfolio are doing better and worse, communicate all that, and then use various other forms of data by, say, a financial company to forecast a better investment mix,” he said.
Use it for scheduling tasks, planning, and time management
Getting your busy work schedule organized may be time consuming — but ChatGPT and other forms of AI can help make the process go a little bit smoother.
Economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a study in 2022 on the skills that AI can replicate and found that AI tools can handle scheduling and task prioritization — in many cases, even “better than humans.”
“Scheduling work and activities seems a perfect AI problem,” the study said.
Some users have tried this out with promising results. Micah, a Youtuber that makes videos exploring AI, posted a video demonstrating how he used ChatGPT to automate his work scheduling.
After he asked ChatGPT to create a daily work schedule that includes tasks like finishing a performance report and scheduling a meeting with his boss, the chatbot was able to spit out an hour-by-hour breakdown of a potential schedule in a matter of seconds.
He then asked ChatGPT to reprioritize certain tasks, but ChatGPT suggested that “it may not be feasible” to do so given his time constraints.
“This is one of the underrated things ChatGPT can do,” Micah said.
When looking for a second opinion: Ask it how to start a business, make strategic decisions, and support customers
If you’re a current or aspiring entrepreneur, ChatGPT may be able to help you think through the process of starting a business.
Insider’s Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins asked the chat bot a variety of questions and found it to be a useful tool for generating ideas, estimating startup costs, and outlining a business plan.
Coursera’s Maggioncalda told CBS MoneyWatch he uses ChatGPT to think through business challenges and strategies.
“I ask ChatGPT to become aware of where my biases and blind spots might be,” he said. “And the answers it gives are a really, really good starting point to check your thinking.”
Even Amazon employees who tested ChatGPT said it does a “very good job” of answering customer support questions and is “very strong” at answering queries around corporate strategy.
Turn it into a coding assistant
Oded Netzer, a Columbia Business School professor, thinks AI will help coders rather than replace them.
“In terms of jobs, I think it’s primarily an enhancer than full replacement of jobs,” Netzer told CBS MoneyWatch. “Coding and programming is a good example of that. It actually can write code quite well.”
Specifically, ChatGPT is capable of quickly generating lines of code to resolve certain coding problems. One TikTok user, @asap_blockie, asked ChatGPT to identify the error in some code he was working on as part of his job, he said in a December video.
“It spat out what was wrong with my code,” he said. “And then I copied that and pasted it in, and then it worked.”
But coders should proceed with caution when receiving help from an AI, as some users have found that ChatGPT incorrectly answers coding problems.
When work isn’t going great: Use it to apply for a new job or to negotiate a raise
Finally, if you’re not happy at your job, ChatGPT may be able to offer some support. People are using it to craft their resumes and cover letters as they undergo their job searches.
“It will make you a cover letter so you don’t have to waste your time anymore,” Jonathan Javier, CEO of the career consulting company Consulting, said in a January TikTok video.
If you’re fairly happy at work but feel like you’re underpaid, ChatGPT might even be able to help you get a raise. Insider’s Sarah Jackson asked ChatGPT for advice to help her prepare for a theoretical salary negotiation, and two career coaches told her she’d probably be able to get a raise if she followed the AI’s script.
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