Thoughts on the increasing usefulness of artificial intelligence chatbots
AI chatbots have become increasingly popular in many parts of the world. They are used by people in practically every industry to increase efficiency in their work. From students writing essays and research reports to businesses using them to enhance their operations, these chatbots have now become an essential part of many people’s armoury.
I am an early adopter when it comes to AI chatbots. I have been using some of them for a while now and these AI chatbots have simplified my life and work in many ways. That isn’t to say that they don’t come without issues but in my experience, the benefits are greater. I use ChatGPT the most and as one cannot shave a man’s head in his absence, it is only right that ChatGPT co-writes this article with me. I mean, who can know it better than itself?
ChatGPT is a type of artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI. It is based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture, which is a state-of-the-art language model. ChatGPT is designed to generate human-like text responses to text input, making it capable of engaging in natural language conversations with users. It is similar to other AI chatbots and conversational agents in the sense that they all aim to provide human-like interactions in textual or spoken form. It is available either as GPT-3.5 (the free version) or GPT-4 (the subscription version). Other chatbots include Google’s Bard, Bing (based on ChatGPT GPT-4), Perplexity AI, Jasper, and YouChat amongst others.
Let’s start with the benefits of using AI chatbots such as ChatGPT:
- 24/7 Availability: One of the things I love the most about it is that it is available at any time that I need to use it. It also responds in seconds (the “jibiti” angle because how does it answer my complex questions so quickly?). If I tried to do whatever task I assigned it to do by myself, it would take much longer. This speed in response can make it useful for people whose work is time-bound and who need to get responses out quickly.
- Scalability: Do you need answers to more than one query? ChatGPT’s got you covered. It cannot only attend to various unrelated queries at the same time, but it can also provide alternative responses/ scenarios to whatever responses it had initially provided you. How cool is that? You can compare responses and use that information to make whatever decisions you need to make.
- Consistency: One thing I noticed is that the AI chatbot can maintain a consistent tone and information across interactions. It almost seems like it has its unique personality like a human being would. Its responses would typically be delivered in the same tone and style except you provide specific queries that require it to present in a particular way. It almost seems as though it understands me and delivers responses uniformly so I can remain consistent every time I use the information it provides.
- Language Support: Imagine my surprise when I discovered that ChatGPT can communicate in multiple languages, breaking down language barriers. Why would I need a translator when I can use ChatGPT? I could also use it to write documents in languages other than English, even Igbo or Hausa!
- Cost-Efficiency: I can imagine how much some people are saving simply by using AI chatbots as part of their business processes. All basic information can be accessed through the platform so it could eliminate the deployment of resources that would have ordinarily been used in accessing this information.
It’s not all hurray with AI chatbots though as they also have their limitations. Some of the ones I have observed include:
- Lack of Empathy: For all the clarity that ChatGPT can provide, it does lack an empathic side. Sometimes, query responses come across as official and stiff. One would still need to edit a response and add an emotional tone. I guess empathy isn’t something an inanimate object can be taught, which means that contrary to many opinions, technology would not be able to take all of our jobs.
- Misinformation: ChatGPT can sometimes provide inaccurate or outdated information. It already provides a disclaimer stating that it may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. I guess this is where people need to realise that copying and pasting from the platform without fact-checking can lead to problems. Even though the chatbot makes life easy, some human intervention is still necessary to prevent misinformation.
- Over Reliance on AI: There’s a tendency to relax and pass all your work to the AI chatbot but that may not end well. As much as these tools make life easier for us, we need to remember that we cannot over-rely on them as we need to broaden our information sources.
- Privacy Concerns: Every time I enter a query, I wonder how much information I am giving away. I try not to enter specific details because who knows whether the chatbot is storing my information to use it against me in some way later? I’m not paranoid but I would rather be safe than sorry. It is important to ensure that only bare-boned information is provided when writing queries for the chatbot to respond to. I am not sure what data protection laws cover for this but one must ensure that they take precautions first.
- Bias and Controversy: The chatbot is likely susceptible to bias but I am not so sure I have noticed that. Either way, it is important to understand that the chatbot should not be one’s only source of information. Test your responses with available information or real human beings.
So, how can one get the best from using ChatGPT?
- Human Oversight: Always ensure that you provide input into whatever information you receive. Don’t assume that the information is correct and infallible. Remember that your active involvement in using the platform can ensure more accurate and ethical responses.
- Clear Queries: When assigning a task to the chatbot, ensure that your questions are as detailed and specific as possible. You can ask the chatbot to take on the role of a professional in the field of your query so you can get a potentially more professional response.
- Transparency: Be transparent in your use of the platform. As much as possible, ensure that you can provide full disclosure about using it if you have to disclose.
- Privacy Safeguards: Be careful when using the platform and ensure that you only provide the most required piece of information when you raise a query. You could also adapt your queries to completely different scenarios.
Have you ever used any of these AI chatbots? What has your experience been like? It is important to note that AI chatbots are here to stay and we can benefit a lot from using them in our personal and business lives. Remember not to accept every response hook, line, and sinker. You must not leave your existing knowledge out of the interaction process otherwise, you are in danger of presenting inaccurate information as factual. Engage your brain while using AI and realise how powerful a tool it can be. This is the way I see things today.