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Meet your new work colleague: ChatGPT 

a group of young professionals
 
In November last year, ChatGPT-3.5 was released to the public for free. Within five months, 100 million people have signed up to use it, and are already realising its huge potential. In fact, an initial study out of Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania measured a productivity jump of 30 - 50 per cent – a jump never seen before in the history of mankind. For context, when the steam train was introduced to the American rail lines, productivity was raised by just 20 per cent.

Disruption is coming

On its release professionals from all industries were testing out its capabilities and drawing the conclusion that their job, as they currently know it, could be disrupted. Just some of the ways that different industries were realising its impacts included:
 
Education – students were using it to write essays and take exams, but the program is also actually earning degrees, at first with limited success but initial reporting on the release of GPT-4 is indicating its passing exams and earning degrees with flying colours.
 
Programmers – coders are experimenting with it in writing or checking code for mistakes. In fact they were doing so with such voracity, that popular public Q&A platform StackOverflow banned the use of code that was built with ChatGPT because it was riddled with errors. Again, the release of ChatGPT-4 has built on this skill even further with the tool now able to build websites from images of sketches uploaded.
 
Content Producers – writers were asking it to produce 100 headlines on a single topic, or to write an essay or story, or to create social posts.
 
Google and SEO specialists – when the tool was first released, it was reported that Google had started a “code red” for its search business because of the tools ability to answer search terms in a more simplified way that doesn’t require you to read through the numerous web pages offered up through a standard google search – also meaning the science of SEO could be dead in the water all together.
 
Customer relations/support roles – chat bots have been used by organisations for years now to help customers find answers to their questions, but the ChatGPT model is much more advanced than previous models making it easier for organisations to assist their customers in a more powerful way than before.
 
As these experimentations were happening, the panic was building around the advanced capabilities of this tool. But to think that an entire role could be replaced by this type of AI is disingenuous. More correctly, it’s going to help you be more productive than ever before, giving you more free time to work on the important human-centric aspects of your role. So now is a great time to start experimenting with how it can help you.

Your new favourite work colleague

Imagine for a moment that you need to set up a meeting with four other people. With ChatGPT you can ask it to research the latest insights on how to host a productive meeting, then ask it to create an agenda for you, then ask it to write an email to these four people inviting them to the meeting and sharing the agenda. After the meeting you can feed it any meeting notes and ask it to summarise them with four action points for each of the attendees, and then write the email to communicate these points. And now imagine what other parts of your job you could be focussing on with the free time you’ve now got from automating some of these more mundane administration type activities.
 
Professionals are already using AI tools to do parts of their jobs, with a recent report by Fishbowl reporting that almost half of all respondents are already using AI at work. If you’re one of the 50 per cent who hasn’t started using it yet, now is the time to try it out.
 
Firstly, familiarise yourself with your organisations policies on the new technology. Cyber security is a hot agenda item at leadership levels and therefore paying close attention the company policies is mandatory. Once you’re familiar with what the policies allow – time to play the scientist.
 
Almost all of us need to write and communicate during our day to day, so consider how you might be able to use ChatGPT to take some of that load off your to-do list. From replying to emails, to setting agendas to writing reports – through the use of the correct prompts it can quickly take you from a blank page to something. To note, it will not get it right the first time. You can keep asking it to re-do the result it offers by giving it more prompts, or you can take this first draft and edit as you see fit.
 
Apart from writing, it can be used to research the internet more efficiently. If you’re searching for an answer to a particular request, rather than offering you websites and articles that might be able to answer the question – which still require you to read through all the information, ChatGPT will just serve up an answer (just remember to always fact check).
 
The tool can also be used to offer a second opinion or allow you to check your thinking. You may be considering how to tackle a certain problem in one way, and totally miss a second, more elegant way of arriving at a solution. ChatGPT can help you challenge your assumptions by offering a different answer that reveals your personal blind spots.
 
Programmers can use the technology to write code for it or to fix a coding problem that might already exist.  
And if you’re looking for a new role, it can even help you with that. For example, it could proofread your resume, give you a first draft of a cover letter and even suggest some practice questions for an interview. Alternatively, if you’re the one looking for a new team member it can help write job descriptions, ads and suggest some questions to ask in an interview. But, as with all technology it can’t replace empathy, instinct and emotional responses – all critical elements to consider when adding to your team or starting a new job.

So, what does this mean for my job?

In the long-term future what might this mean for certain roles? To be honest, we’re not sure anyone knows the answer to that just yet – these technologies are advancing so quickly. However, in the near future, it could influence the skills that employers start looking for.
 
As with all new, transformative technologies there could be a point where some jobs are disrupted, but in general these jobs are replaced by even more jobs. So now is definitely the time to start experimenting and working out what parts of your role could be automated by this technology, what additional value you could add to an organisation by automating these parts of your role and then identify what skills these technologies don’t have yet and won’t for some time. These typically include capabilities in strategy, innovation, complex problem-solving and processes that require emotional intelligence and empathy.
 
There will always need to be a human in the room with these tools so consider how you can use them to augment your job, rather than replace it. 
 

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