By Ali Meredith
The recent remarkable advancements in generative AI offer an extraordinary opportunity for those willing to embrace this new technology, and the time to act is now. Mountain Club connects experts across different fields and industries who are collectively leveraging AI to their advantage.
It’s clear that generative AI is here for good and will have a profound impact on all of our lives. Like any seismic shift, the widespread availability of generative AI is a double-edged sword, presenting both immense opportunities and profound risks. The clearest articulation of this I have heard to date is from one of the godfathers of AI, Geoffrey Hinton, “The good news is, we’ve discovered the secret of immortality. The bad news is, it’s not for us.” While a global digital intelligence promises unparalleled advantages to those who can effectively harness its power, it also threatens peril if misused.
Setting aside the potential existential threat of generative AI, an obvious and more immediate known is the competitive commercial edge that AI will offer those who can understand how to best use it. In this series we will showcase how some of our members are accelerating their impact with AI, and share some ideas about what we think you should be doing with it.
A huge misconception is that unless you are a software engineer there is no reason for you to concern yourself with new technology at all, but the widespread and record breaking adoption of Open AI’s ChatGPT suggests otherwise. ChatGPT is currently free, accessible to everyone with the internet, and with over 100 million monthly active users is well on the way to becoming mainstream.
Generative AI, especially tools like ChatGPT, are empowering small businesses to optimise their operations. If you're an independent operator, you might be spending countless hours communicating with customers, crafting marketing content and managing accounts. Leveraging ChatGPT to draft initial versions of marketing material will help you communicate your value proposition swiftly, maintain up-to-date messaging, and adapt to changing circumstances. For instance, one of our members employs ChatGPT to generate single-page flyers for quick distribution to prospective clients, while another member uses ChatGPT to draft project update emails, freeing uptime for value adding work. Interacting with a large language model (LLM) such as ChatGPT through OpenAI’s customer facing interface is a very light lift way to explore how they can become more efficient with zero upfront investment.
Emerging technologies often disrupt the established order, and generative AI is no exception. Some of today’s most influential companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Meta, would have been inconceivable without the invention of the internet. Similarly, the advent of generative AI presents a comparable opportunity for forward-thinking entrepreneurs to create products that were previously unimaginable. If you’re a nimble start up or a prospective founder with a good idea, then utilising generative AI may give you an advantage. Incumbents who have invested heavily in outdated technologies or scaled their team may face challenges if they have a sunk cost to account for or a larger and more complex operation to pivot.
Established software companies know this, and are racing to integrate generative AI into their products. The shift towards cloud computing and a monthly or annual subscription model for most software products means that the cost and complexity of transitioning from one provider to another is becoming increasingly less prohibitive than it was when software was licenced and installed on premise. Organisations facing increased operating costs from rising inflation are taking a moment to re-evaluate their tech stack, which compounds the potential reward for those who can move fast to add value from generative AI.
In a down market, one would typically expect software costs to increase as companies struggle to raise capital at the same rate they could have previously. However, with investors itching to get a stake in the AI game, that may not be the case. If money is free flowing to companies who are investing in AI, then the impetus to do so is even stronger.
For angel investors or early stage venture capital firms, early stage start ups with an AI bent could be a safer bet than usual. This is because small organisations are well placed to quickly integrate generative AI into their processes and product, which will simultaneously help them scale operations and attract new customers. Using tools like GitHub’s Co-Pilot will help engineering teams build more quickly, and using GPT to automate workflows and generate content will help customer teams do more with less.
We are convinced that generative AI is going to impact everyone. If you are yet to dip your toes in the water, we’d suggest that you start now. You can access ChatGPT by creating an account with OpenAI for free here.
Bio: Ali is Director of Product Partnerships at LawVu. Ali uses her experience working globally with top tier law firms, in-house legal teams and start ups to connect teams creating fresh and innovative solutions with LawVu’s community of in-house legal teams.