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OpenAI’s ChatGPT has taken the digital world by storm. With so many use cases and capabilities, it has — in a matter of months — become a go-to for business owners and digital marketers around the world. From content creation to streamlining SEO practices to creating training materials and SOPs, it is doing nothing less than upending this already dynamic sector, but it also has its limitations, implications and no small amount of associated controversy.
The revolution in a nutshell
As the “gig economy” picked up steam in the wake of the recession of 2008, few people — even as recently as then — anticipated the enormity of its impact on the digital market. Colloquially defined as “free-floating projects, consultancies and other part-time jobs,” gig work has exploded to include side hustles like Uber driving, copywriting, being a virtual assistant, social media marketing and a myriad of others.
But now, many of these previously service-based tasks can be outsourced to AI tools like ChatGPT, with its ability — often in a matter of seconds — to draft content outlines, hashtags, templates and other marketing collateral, along with writing emails, social media posts and blog articles. Gig workers offering these services for more than a buck per hour are now competing with an extremely efficient and cheap tool.
To be sure, that doesn’t mean that they are all out of luck, but it does mean that there is more competition in this space than ever before — not just with people, but with technology. Not surprisingly, these time and cost savings are appealing to business owners, but not as readily welcomed by freelancers. While it may be too soon to say how this will all shake out (will technology ultimately push most freelancers out of the market, or will they use AI to their advantage… or both?), ChatGPT has created a new landscape.
AI’s business present and potential
Early adopters will likely agree that such tools can be beneficial when it comes to streamlining administrative tasks. Many daily activities that owners have had to manage (such as writing emails, sending client follow-up messages and drafting blog post outlines) can be made more efficient through their application.
For example, ChatGPT can create standard operating procedures for nearly any business department. Whether it’s conducting keyword research, writing a marketing plan or using CRM software, it can outline steps and procedures virtually any person on a team can apply to execute tasks more efficiently. It can also develop entirely new ways of working, and from scratch. For example, given a prompt like, “Please provide an efficient new client intake process from start to finish,” AI has the potential to generate astonishingly helpful results.
Finally, ChatGPT is trained using “generative AI,” so it “learns” as it goes along: The more you use it, the more it understands your business and produces more tailored and helpful output. And while it isn’t yet particularly skilled when it comes to deep-dive creativity or insight, it’s certainly been proved helpful in articulating step-by-step systems and processes to improve productivity.
How these tools make us question what’s “real” in marketing
Whether from witnessing a digital marketer making a deep fake of himself to create videos, or brand designers using AI to create fake products, the rise of AI has forced us to question what’s real, and almost real.
No doubt a tool like ChatGPT is helpful when it comes to content creation. But it’s vital to keep in mind that it is also notably limited in its ability to fact-check information. This can have sweeping ramifications for content creators — sometimes benign, sometimes dangerous. For example, ask it to produce a list of nearby restaurants, and the output will be drastically different from Google’s proximity-based results. Likewise, ask ChatGPT to produce content for a law firm, with case law considered, and you seriously risk publishing inaccurate information.
So, as business owners, we must take AI outputs with a grain of salt and do proper due diligence, including fact-checking information and assessing potential copyright issues. Otherwise, both businesses and their clients might be put at risk.
Put succinctly, this tech is what we make of it. It’s a valuable tool, to be sure — with many far-reaching benefits — but one that requires human oversight to ensure we are providing the best outputs for enterprises and the best experience for customers.