Product Manager at Conga | Investor | Autocrat.
As of this writing, ChatGPT is only three weeks old. Despite the short span of time, it was enough to forever change the perception of artificial intelligence (AI) in many minds. And in the process, it started to change customer expectations.
For some, including myself, this is a landmark event in the history of technology. Aaron Levie, CEO of Box and prominent technology commentator, observed, “ChatGPT is one of those rare moments in technology where you see a glimmer of how everything is going to be different in the future.” Mark Cuban also weighed from a parent’s perspective. I have had similar experiences with my own children. In the wake of the release of ChatGPT, the AI eye as Skynet from the Terminator movies will give way to a more realistic perception.
So what is remarkable? Surprisingly, it’s not artificial intelligence per se. GPT-3, released in 2020, contained many game-changing capabilities. Meta released Cicero, who achieved human-level performance in Diplomacy, the week before ChatGPT. On the contrary, the power of ChatGPT lies in its “general AI” qualities, combined with its being free (for now) and its ease of use. Anyone with an email account can use ChatGPT, and it has not just one but many uses. People from many areas of expertise can experience it and immediately see the possibilities. (Note that I did not say apps. While impressive, it’s a toy right now. A very impressive, but still a toy).
It’s also controversial. For example, because of its ability to generate working code examples, Stack Overflow has banned its use for generating responses. While it’s not the only AI that generates code – Github Copilot has been doing so for over a year – the human nature of its responses is the concern. I have personally seen that it is safe but not always accurate.
The reality is, however, that all technology involves iterations and improvements. The point of releasing ChatGPT to the general public is to improve it – there’s no better way to improve the technology than to get it into the hands of real users. Gmail notably started out with a small initial customer base from which to learn and grow. I can only imagine the amazing levels of feedback the team behind ChatGPT has received in a matter of weeks.
For me, the most impactful implication of ChatGPT stems from its wide reach. My own indicator is holiday conversations – new or notable topics people are talking about. Already this year, ChatGPT has appeared often, even uninvited. Hearing about it from others outside of tech circles tells a clear story: that it has already broadened the exposure of general AI and is beginning to show the masses what is possible, which, in turn, is will integrate into what they expect from technology in the future. .
I’m thinking of Jeff Bezos here, who basically said that what customers want and expect is constantly changing. Similar to how people have incredible consumer experiences at home and then incorporate those expectations into work (and their business software), the widespread use, growing popularity, and obvious power of ChatGPT and technologies will fuel consumer expectations of all technologies. The genie came out of the bottle.
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