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Op-Ed: Threats, now? ‘AI or die’ really doesn’t cut it.

The bar for AI has to be raised to include proven performance standards. Is that unreasonable?

Generative AI apps like ChatGPT are raising concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence on a range of issues including disinformation as well as copyright over images, sound and text
Generative AI apps like ChatGPT are raising concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence on a range of issues including disinformation as well as copyright over images, sound and text - © AFP Julio Cesar AGUILAR
Generative AI apps like ChatGPT are raising concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence on a range of issues including disinformation as well as copyright over images, sound and text - © AFP Julio Cesar AGUILAR

One chatbot to rule them all? Thou shalt graft thyself onto an AI platform, or else? Nvidia, Alphabet, and Microsoft seem to be on the same page. AI will revolutionize everything. It may destroy humanity and so on. Therefore you should get on board.

We now have a new noise in the barnyard: “Your business will go under if you don’t rush out and get AI.”

Not so fast, bozos.

What we’ve seen are chatbots that can do searches. Chatbots are scripted for the gullible to see “sentience” under every rock. Large language models with algorithms that can’t even handle contractions in basic grammar. Cutesy pseudo-sci-fi user interfaces. Schmaltz with 11-digit price tags.

Let’s put this simply:

So what?

Let’s try making a distinction between hyperbole and functionality, shall we? Does a click-and-sell business need an expensive, eternally-upgraded AI at all? Most of these businesses, from the NYSE to Etsy, are already automated. So are the accounts and audits. Adding cost to an existing process does what, exactly?

These are de-specialized, scripted, very early AIs, barely out of the cyber womb. They’re not customized for anything much. They’re nothing like proven assets in basic business. The back end of AI includes people earning $15 an hour working on language models.

Again – So what?

Let’s leave out the naivete and focus on basic business functions:

There’s no indication that AI and SEO are on speaking terms yet. If you’re talking algorithms, forget it. A spreadsheet can do that.

Do you need AI on a search engine? Especially when the search engines are clunky and inefficient with “Read: List” functions, thanks to too many meetings of the morons? “Read: List” is how software runs. They’ve turned even that into a barely workable process.

Just list everything with a search term in it using ridiculous search page formatting. Obviously, you’ll need an AI interpreter on every search? Do tell. When will the 1980s drop in again?

If you can show that AI:

  • Delivers genuine commercial values in dollar terms
  • Delivers real value in time management
  • Delivers over and above current levels of profitability
  • Delivers new scope for business
  • Delivers metrics for marketing and advertising
  • Delivers synergies in your market
  • Delivers value and incentives for business clients

…You’ve got a business proposition.

A very simple kindergarten-level B2B example:

Your AI creates a marketing profile that generates business from new customers.

This is because their AI sees values via the language models, a very slight variation on basic SEO and SEM.

Their AI checks and compares your range of products, prices, and delivery times. You do more business because you’re now proven valuable.

This really is as simple as it gets.

Otherwise, you’re just buying more maintenance business for your IT contractors. If your AI can’t deliver any or all of the above, you’re losing.

Bear in mind that language models evolve. Frames of reference change. Priorities in searches change. Products and markets change. This is where AI can make itself extremely valuable.

It’s much like hiring an employee. Never mind “It’s alive!”, can it do the job?

You can put on a football uniform. That doesn’t mean you’re automatically entered into the Super Bowl.

Let’s just return the threats a bit. If your AI isn’t up to scratch, you’re the ones in very big, expensive trouble. Now shut up and deliver value, or else.

The bar for AI has to be raised to include proven performance standards. Is that unreasonable?

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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Written By

Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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