It’s not an understatement to say AI has taken the world by storm. More than one million people used ChatGPT within the first five days it launched in November 2022, and more than $2.6 billion in equity funding was invested in generative AI startups that year. The global generative AI market is projected to reach $118 billion by 2032.
With the onslaught of these new tools, there’s been a lot of talk of the potential big-picture implications—especially when it comes to reshaping whole industries overnight. But some say AI’s impact will be most apparent in the smaller, more subtle ways we work.
“[These tools] aren’t going to produce better language than the best writers,” says David Karpf, Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “But there are tasks you have to do, such as reports or PowerPoints, where you don't need perfection—you just need to check a box that it’s done. AI is going to make that box-checking a lot easier.”
Karpf speculates that the great AI disruption lies in our day-to-day operations, where it will take over seemingly mundane duties and streamline our workflows. From real estate to finance, and even government, this is already proving to be true. For these organizations, leveraging AI is less about having it spit out haikus, and more about the ways it can be an effective partner for knowledge workers—one rote task at a time.
More room for human interactions
When AI tools are used to perform tedious, time-consuming tasks, it frees people up to attend to the more nuanced responsibilities of the job. For those in the real estate industry, this can be a game-changer. Real estate is all about the relationships that agents and brokers build with new clients, but tasks like creating listings and marketing materials, generating contracts, and preparing reports can take hours away from client interaction.
Enter generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT. Since much of real estate language is relatively standardized, generative tools can handle rote tasks in a fraction of the time it takes a human. That means those real estate listings and marketing materials can be produced much more quickly. For an industry where more than 78% of prospective clients stick with the agent who responds first, this is a key advantage.
Frank Trelles, Executive Vice President of State Street Realty in Miami, Florida, has been experimenting with ChatGPT to optimize his processes—such as pulling quick ballpark estimates when needed. His experiments have not only allowed him to simplify his own workflow, but also speed up the process for his clients. “The quicker you can provide a client with information, the quicker you get a property under contract, the quicker you get it to close,” says Trelles.
For many in real estate, the heart of their job is customer service—face-to-face interactions and nuanced conversations, something AI could never truly achieve in the same way as humans. But leveraging the tasks these tools can take on, leaves more time and space for agents to do the work that matters. “We’re in the service industry, and anything that can help us provide better service is important,” says Trelles.
77% of financial organizations have implemented or plan to implement AI to improve their processes.
Making data more accessible
The emergence of AI is meeting a time when large corporations come with large amounts of data and countless hours spent sifting through it. For finance organizations, the sheer amount of data can make it nearly impossible to access the right information when needed. “Many financial institutions make risk, capital allocation, and underwriting decisions based on as little as 10% of the data available to them,” Dr. Lewis Liu, CEO and co-founder of Eigen Technologies, told Forbes.
That’s why some businesses, like Morgan Stanley, are changing the way they navigate it all with the help of AI. The company has begun fine-tuning GPT-4 training on more than 100,000 of its documents. As a result, Morgan Stanley’s more than 16,000 financial advisors can know where the global financial services firm stands on general business questions, process questions, and investment recommendations in an instant. It’s a vast amount of data that the company’s own financial advisors can now easily tap to answer client questions thoughtfully and swiftly—without the slog of chasing down the information from one person to the next.
Morgan Stanley isn’t alone—77% of financial organizations have implemented or plan to implement AI to improve their processes. This significant shift in the way such an age-old industry operates shines a light on the impact new technologies like AI can have on an entire business culture.
Solving modern challenges
The possibilities of AI aren’t limited to traditional business operations, of course. In Iceland, the country’s government came up with a creative and effective goal for generative AI: to bring Iceland’s native language to more of the software and services its knowledge workers use each day.
According to a study from the Australian National University, about one language is lost every three months, which could triple in the next 40 years. Icelandic is experiencing this firsthand, as other languages such as English, Danish, and German are becoming more commonplace in the country. To combat this cultural erosion, the Icelandic government launched a language preservation project that aims to improve ChatGPT’s understanding of the country’s native tongue.
The government partnered with OpenAI to train GPT-4 on proper Icelandic grammar and cultural knowledge, first testing out the program with a few prompts and responses. Using Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), they then selected and edited the best responses. The results are used to train GPT-4 to produce better responses going forward, so Icelandic can be made available in more apps that use ChatGPT.
By embracing AI technology to safeguard and make languages accessible, we're not just preserving heritage but also sending a message about the vast potential of these tools. It demonstrates how, in the smallest of ways, AI can be used to better understand and help solve our modern day challenges.
The question isn’t whether or not to cede all efforts to AI, but instead, how can we best use AI to help us do our best work?
Can AI help us do our best work?
AI chatter has been anything but quiet in the last few months, but its real use cases in businesses and organizations behind the scenes point to an emerging silent revolution in efficiency. For some, it’s already here. A recent Forbes Insight Survey found that 79% of executives agree that AI is already driving transformative improvement in workflows and tools for knowledge workers.
The question isn’t whether or not to cede all efforts to AI, but instead, how can we best use AI to help us do our best work? The answer isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every person or organization. “It’s like hiring a copywriter with little or no familiarity with your business,” Karpf explains. “You're still going to have to devote time to the revision process so you can adjust it to make it work for you.”
By exploring and experimenting with AI in small ways, organizations can unlock new levels of operational efficiency, explore untapped opportunities, and uncover valuable insights hidden within vast amounts of data. It's an exciting journey of transformation, where simple and discreet changes today can lead to groundbreaking shifts in how we collaborate, innovate, and shape the future of work tomorrow.