Businesses urged to view artificial intelligence as an opportunity, not a threat

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Those who are already using artificial intelligence (AI) to do their work faster and better say businesses that do not get to grips with the technology now will be left behind.

New generation AI such as Chat GPT has made huge advances in the past few months.

And while there are fears the technology could take people’s jobs within years, it is also being picked to massively increase productivity and efficiency.

Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault has found artificial intelligence tool Chat GPT 4 useful for smashing through his to-do list.

It has helped write the school newsletter, devise questions for a prospective new receptionist, and mocked up a new school policy.

“It made life a heck of a lot easier for me,” he said.

“It certainly saved a number of hours in terms of just not having to start with a blank piece of paper.”

The trial version of Chat GPT 4 is free to use. It is trained by being fed the internet and, by predicting the next word in a sequence, it spits out full sentence answers to questions.

Couillault said the answers it gave could not always be taken as rote, but they were helpful to guide his thoughts and gave structure to work from.

He planned to keep putting it through its paces.

“I’m keen to explore the analysis of data side, of data that I put in.

“Rather than me giving it information that I don’t have, what will it do with information that I give it?”

Ana Adams is a principal consultant for Australian human resources and recruitment consulting firm TQ Solutions, which has clients in a number of countries, including New Zealand.

She said Chat GPT could write a bang-up job description.

“You can go in there and say: ‘What are the key requirements for a senior account manager working in the technology industry?’

“It will bring up all the key skills and requirements and you can use that to populate a position description or maybe an advert for a role that you’re recruiting for.

“And it’s really spot on, the quality of the outputs are really insightful and as good as what most people would do in the role, and it happens in a matter of seconds.”

The founder of interest group New Zealand AI and chief marketing officer at marketing firm Unrivaled, Justin Flitter, said many businesses have hundreds of files containing workplace policies, how-to instructions, and product and customer information squirrelled away in numerous documents.

This is crucial knowledge for running a business but it is often hard to get what you need quickly.

Flitter said a Chat GPT-powered application could ingest all that information and produce cogent and detailed answers.

“For one of the projects that I’m working on, literally 100 documents – it took me half an hour.

“And then to install the chat bot takes two minutes … it’s a real game changer.”

Flitter said the technology could make current employees more productive, and with New Zealand facing a skills shortage, companies would soon start looking to AI to help them fill the gap.

Adams said people needed to see it as an opportunity, not a threat, and she encouraged them to start playing and experimenting with the new technology.

“Some clients really embrace it and explore it, and I think for those guys it will be a huge differentiator and advantage.

“We are seeing a lot of clients who aren’t even talking about it, a little bit of a head in the sand, and I think … early adaptors will have a really credible advantage.”

She said it was still new technology but it was accelerating quickly and in five years it could transform many industries.

A 2018 report by AI Forum said the technology had the potential to increase New Zealand’s GDP by as much as $54 billion by 2035.




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