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NextGen AI: a threat to communications professionals? Best to keep an eye on it!

1 Aug 2023

Earlier this year, several Belgian IT journalists started paying considerable attention to the new generation of artificial intelligence, or NextGen AI. The tone of the articles suggested that NextGen AI is a disruptive threat to many professions, from teachers and lawyers to communications specialists. Here, we delve into this pressing issue.

Most of us will indeed have already read about ChatGTP, a product made by OpenAI, into which Microsoft is investing a lot of money. It is an example of what I term NextGen AI. Original AI tools were based on what is known as Artificial Narrow Intelligence and were mainly used to automate tasks or create schedules. But with NextGen AI, things go a step further with what is called Artificial General Intelligence, wherein the power of intelligence is already far broader and more profound. If you input the right questions, you can use it to write texts, draft CVs, create contracts or answer letters of complaint. Thus, it does not work like a traditional search engine (think Google or Bing), where you are presented with a series of links in response to your queries. Instead, you immediately get a full text that appears ready to use. I say it appears because this is where it hits a slight snag.

In its current iteration, ChatGTP can undoubtedly boost productivity for communications consultants. Those who don’t use it will be at a disadvantage to those who do, if only from a time-saving perspective. Starting with a text that has already been prescribed based on a set of instructions means the final, finished text can be produced more quickly – though human intervention is still required in proofreading and correcting or supplementing texts where necessary. Sander Duivenstein and Thijs Pepping, researchers at Sogeti Labs, wrote in an opinion piece in the Dutch newspaper NRC that there is a big difference between a calculator and Chat GTP. Whereas the outcomes of a calculator are deterministic, those of NextGen AI are probabilistic. The result will always be the same if you repeatedly enter the same calculation into your calculator. With ChatGPT (and similar technologies), this is not the case. Everything depends on the context you put in, meaning that results will vary according to how you formulate your question. NextGen AI will use artificial intelligence to give you the most likely outcome (i.e., probabilistic), which may vary from one time to the next. ‘ChatGTP doesn’t understand anything,’ the two researchers argue, ‘It is more like a parrot repeating a set of coincidences.’

It is precisely why human intervention is still needed, as nothing can replace real expertise in particular subject areas. ChatGTP is a valuable tool for storytelling or formulating press releases, for example. But this technology is evolving at lightning speed. Undoubtedly, NextGen AI will continue to gain momentum and become increasingly self-teaching on its march towards perfection. Just think of developments such as deep fake and the metaverse, both relying heavily on AI and NextGen AI. Therefore, as knowledge workers, we had better keep a close eye on it, following each new development.

As with many fellow consultants, I already have ChatGTP open by default on my second screen. Who knows that ChatGTP did not write this blog post on NextGen AI? You will have to guess that for yourself…

This article was originally published on ITdaily in French. To access the French version of the article, click here.