ChatGPT Technology and the Potential Impact on Operations


In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly gained popularity in the business world due to its ability to improve efficiency and productivity. One such AI system is ChatGPT, a language model created by OpenAI that has the potential to revolutionize business operations. ChatGPT is capable of answering questions, generating text, and holding a conversation with users, making it a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.

How powerful is it? Take another look at that first paragraph, which was generated by ChatGPT in response to this query: “Write a blog post on ChatGPT’s potential impact on business operations.” (Don’t worry, from here forward the humans are back in control of this post.)

That opening paragraph might not be the most conversational writing you’ve ever seen, but it’s an accurate response to a natural-language request, and that why only a few months into its existence (it launched on November 30, 2022), ChatGPT is taking the business world by storm. You might have an easier time getting onto the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ride at Disney World than logging into the ChatGPT platform.

So, what does all that mean for business operations? Will ChatGPT and similar products, including the forthcoming Bard from Google, replace us all?

ChatGPT’s Potential in Business Operations

You’d be hard pressed to name an area of operations that’s not affected by the potential of this new technology, but the list probably begins with marketing and customer service.

Improved engagement: ChatGPT’s ability to process and respond in natural language is a marked improvement over the boilerplate responses used by many current customer chat tools. Customers are more likely to remain engaged in a sales or customer service transaction. ChatGPT can also personalize and customize interactions based on a customer’s history, potentially boosting loyalty.

Automation: Your customer service reps get the same questions over and over. ChatGPT shines at automating these repetitive tasks, freeing them to focus on more challenging work.

Content generation: Need 50 tweets on a certain topic? A list of long-tail search keywords in a specific vertical? A blog post of X words on Y topic? Just ask and watch the results get generated onscreen.

Language: ChatGPT is multi-lingual, making it a possible game-changer for businesses looking to expand internationally.

Search: A number of social media posts feature side-by-side comparisons of the same query asked of Google and ChatGPT, and some of the results are stunning. Where Google points to the user to a web page that it thinks contains the answer, ChatGPT answers the question directly, up to and including debugging code. Are Google’s days of ruling the online universe numbered? It probably depends on the success of their own AI-based product, Bard, due to launch any day now.

Limitations and Drawbacks of ChatGPT

Security/Privacy: ChatGPT has immense potential for processing mountains of data in ways not previously possible, but where does that data live and how secure will it be? Organizations, and especially those in sensitive industries, will need those questions answered.

Writing quality: As noted above, while ChatGPT’s responses are in natural language, the writing tends to be a bit stilted and formal. Marketers especially will want to review its output carefully, and in all likelihood will need to spend some time editing.

Low EQ: ChatGPT just isn’t capable of the emotional intelligence of a human, and that’s a huge potential pitfall in the customer service area. Your live service reps will be better able to detect the customer who’s about to blow a gasket, and to respond accordingly.

Copyright concerns: ChatGPT gathers information from an immense variety of sources, and concerns have surfaced about plagiarism and copyright issues.

Wrong answers: Like some people you know, ChatGPT is capable of delivering a very authoritative-sounding answer that is just flat wrong. Its own disclaimer states: “WE DO NOT WARRANT THAT THE SERVICES WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, ACCURATE OR ERROR FREE, OR THAT ANY CONTENT WILL BE SECURE OR NOT LOST OR ALTERED.” Be sure to check anything mission-critical against other sources before you accept ChatGPT’s results as gospel.

We won’t know the full impact of this or other AI-based tools for some time, and whether the technology replaces human beings or frees them to pursue less repetitive work is another open question. Right now, ChatGPT is a very useful tool with a wide variety of applications in almost any area of operations.