In this article, Rich Bishop (Director, Orchis Ltd) asks AI (Artificial intelligence) what it thinks AI means for the West Midlands; what it thinks it can do for business and what we should look out for. “Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution”
When it comes to discussing AI and its potential impact on businesses, and the Midlands region, I thought, who better to co-author this piece with me, than AI itself. So, I turned to ChatGPT (https://chat.openai.com/) and asked it to talk about itself, what it can do, and why we should still be careful about how we use it. Here’s what it had to say:
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword in recent years, and for good reason. AI technologies such as ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate and boost productivity. However, it is essential to understand the downsides of using AI technology, including unconscious bias and copyright issues. Moreover, the Midlands is a particularly special region for AI technologies, given its abundance of great universities and businesses that can help hone this technology for economic and societal good.”
I asked it for some good examples of what businesses can do with ChatGPT, and it says:
“First, let’s explore how AI technologies such as ChatGPT can benefit businesses. ChatGPT is a natural language processing AI that can generate human-like text based on a given input. This technology can be particularly useful for businesses as it can automate certain processes that would traditionally require human intervention, such as customer support or content creation. ChatGPT can also analyse large amounts of data, providing businesses with insights and recommendations that can inform decision-making processes.”
It’s not all good news though, and it was able to articulate that as well:
“However, it is crucial to understand the potential downsides of using AI technology. One such downside is unconscious bias. AI technologies are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on, and if this data is biased, then the AI will replicate this bias. Moreover, AI-generated content may infringe copyright laws if it is not appropriately attributed or if the content used to train the AI was not licensed correctly. These potential issues require careful consideration and management to ensure that businesses can benefit from AI technologies while avoiding unintended consequences.”
And what about this region? Does the Midlands offer anything special? Well ChatGPT seems to think so, even showing that it has a bit of local knowledge when it comes to universities around here:
“The Midlands is a particularly special region for AI technologies. The region is home to several excellent universities, including the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick, and the University of Nottingham. These institutions are at the forefront of AI research and can help hone this technology for good. The region is also home to several innovative businesses that are using AI to drive growth and create economic value. From small start-ups to large corporations, the Midlands is a hub of AI innovation and expertise.”
Can ChatGPT summarise all that for me? Of course it can!
“In conclusion, AI technologies such as ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate and boost productivity. However, businesses must understand the potential downsides of using AI, including unconscious bias and copyright issues. The Midlands in the UK is an excellent region for AI technologies, given its abundance of great universities and businesses that can help hone this technology for economic and societal good. As AI continues to evolve and become more ubiquitous, it is essential to ensure that its benefits are maximised while its potential downsides are minimised.”
And as a final party trick I asked it to “explain like i’m five”…
“AI technology, like ChatGPT, can help businesses by doing tasks that humans usually do, like answering questions or creating content. But we have to be careful because AI can sometimes make mistakes or have biases. Also, we have to make sure that it doesn’t break the rules by using things that don’t belong to it. The Midlands is a special place for AI because there are lots of smart people and businesses there who can help make AI better and use it to make good things happen.”
It’s pretty impressive, and this whole thing took less than 30 minutes to pull together. All that’s left for me to do is explain what bias is to a five year old, and employ ChatGPT to write everything for me from now on. Next up… asking it for its opinions on economic growth for the Midlands, and how to solve all of the challenges we face.
Being serious for a second… I recently asked it to help me write a pitch deck for a software project. Not only did it help to define what should be on each slide, it conducted competitor research for me, helped me to articulate some of the challenges we were trying to solve, and even planned out a business model for our solution. What could have taken me days to perfect, I was able to semi-automate in under an hour. It wasn’t completely correct, and I still had to know enough about the project, technology, and available options to know if it was offering correct advice and amend what it had produced. It’s just like when we rely on spell checkers and calculators – we, as humans, still need to know roughly what the right answer might be, to make sure the AI hasn’t got it completely wrong, or, as ChatGPT puts it (when I asked):
“Using ChatGPT is like using a calculator or a spell checker because it helps you do something quickly that you could do yourself but might take more time or effort. But, just like with a calculator or a spell checker, you still need to know what the right answer should be so you can tell if the AI got it right. For example, if you ask ChatGPT what the capital of France is, and it says it’s London, you should know that it’s wrong because you already knew that the correct answer is Paris. So, while ChatGPT can help you do things faster, you still need to be knowledgeable to double-check its answers and ensure they are correct.”
But, just like mechanising a production line, or using a spreadsheet for calculations – it helped me focus on what I’m good at, and it automated what it could. Humans definitely still have their place though. It’s just with tools like ChatGPT, or any other kind of AI, we can free ourselves from repetitive processes, research, crafting language or content, and focus instead of what is still (at time of writing) uniquely human – creativity, connection, and emotion. Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution.
ABOUT OUR AUTHOR:
Rich started writing software from the age of nine. He turned it into a business at 16, and has now been working with SMEs and larger businesses in the UK and overseas for the last 17 years. He also sits on the Council of BCS (the Chartered institute for IT) and is the Secretary of the Industry Committee of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists – where he works with both organisations to set the future direction of leadership in the IT, digital and cyber sectors.
Rich hasn’t always just been in software though. He has run business in retail, food, accounting, financial advice, education and broadcasting. He’s also campaigned for the small business community through roles with the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), and now sits on many committees of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry). He is also a Fellow of both the RSA (Royal Society of Art, Manufactures and Commerce) and the IoEE (The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs), and is a Freeman of the City of London.
The primary aim of Rich’s work, through his company Orchis, is to improve efficiency and productivity in businesses so they get the most out of the resources they have. Somewhat counterproductive to his own business, more times than not Rich will talk businesses out of expensive software builds – favouring quicker, cheaper, solutions already out there. Through this, he also acts as CTO for start-ups. The aim of Rich’s work is to utilise technology and digital skills to do everything computers possibly can – freeing the humans from monotonous daily tasks and allowing them to do what they do best.