Danilo McGarry is one of the world's best Generative Ai, Ai, ChatGPT, CoPilot, Digital Transformation practitioners and speakers. Here he posts his thoughts around these topics and how its impacting businesses and employability (i.e. the skills needed to allow those who are employed to remain as relevant as possible).
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Throughout the past century, we have seen an incredible evolution in automation, marked by inventions that revolutionized our industries, processes, and day-to-day activities. From the mechanical innovations of calculators and typewriters to advanced software applications like Microsoft Excel and CAD tools, the march of progress has been steady and impressive.
In the early part of the 20th century, the calculator and typewriter emerged as game-changing tools. The mechanical calculator simplified complex mathematical operations, and as electronics advanced, so did the capabilities of these devices, becoming faster and more accurate. Typewriters transformed the world of communication, making the process of writing more efficient and legible, shaping professional communication until computers and word processing software replaced them.
Image generated by DALL-E
In the latter half of the century, software automation became the vanguard of progress. Excel revolutionized data processing, while CAD tools became the bedrock of engineering design. CRM tools like Salesforce streamlined and automated sales processes, contributing to business efficiency.
These revolutionary innovations, both mechanical and software, share a common attribute: they are deterministic. The inputs dictate the outputs in a predictable, predefined way. They mechanized and simplified tasks but did not learn, adapt, or create in the way humans do.
However, we now find ourselves at the dawn of a new era - the age of Generative AI.
Generative AI is a stark departure from traditional automation tools, setting it apart in three critical ways: democratization, ease of use, and versatility.
Unlike previous tools, many of which were proprietary and costly, Generative AI, like the GPT-4 model from OpenAI, is freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection. This democratizing aspect fundamentally reshapes who can harness the power of advanced technology, breaking down the barriers of cost and accessibility.
Furthermore, Generative AI does not demand specialized technical skills or training, unlike its software and mechanical predecessors. It’s designed to be intuitive, inviting interaction from individuals of varying technical competencies.
Perhaps the most striking difference lies in the versatility of Generative AI. Traditional automation tools, mechanical or software, were created to perform specific tasks. In contrast, Generative AI is a jack of all trades. It can write, create artwork, generate music, perform research, translate languages, and even simulate conversations. Its functionality is limited only by our imagination.
Image provided by TechTarget 2018
Now, when we compare GPT-4 to its predecessor, GPT-3, we witness remarkable advancements. GPT-4 demonstrates up to a 40% reduction in errors, and its capabilities in context understanding and coherent generation of text have significantly improved. However, when we juxtapose it with human cognition, the comparison becomes intriguing. GPT-4, with its ability to process and store vast amounts of data, far exceeds human capabilities. While an average human brain has a storage capacity estimated around 2.5 petabytes, GPT-4's capacity extends into exabytes, making it capable of storing and processing information hundreds of times more than a human.
Above all, Generative AI learns and improves over time, distinguishing it from deterministic automation tools. It is not just another step in the automation journey; it represents a paradigm shift from static to adaptive, from single-task to multifaceted, and from exclusive to democratic.
The impact of Generative AI will be far-reaching and transformative. As we move forward into this exciting new era, we must prepare to embrace the changes and challenges it brings. The age of Generative AI is not just an extension of the past; it is a leap into a future full of untapped potential and innovative possibilities.
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In the recent technological landscape, there's a fresh buzzword that's capturing the imagination of the public and industry experts alike - Generative AI. Its increasing traction seems to eclipse the earlier frenzies around blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Let's explore the distinguishing factors that make the generative AI wave fundamentally different from the preceding hype cycles around blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The advent of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies presented a new dawn of decentralization, promising to shake up everything from financial transactions to supply chain management. However, the actual evolution didn't quite live up to the expectations.
Blockchain's path to revolution was riddled with a critical challenge: the need for reaching a critical mass to realize its full potential. Coupled with the somewhat limited benefits to early adopters, the result was a slower diffusion of the technology than originally anticipated.
The challenges faced by cryptocurrencies were even more pronounced. Lauded for their potential to democratize finance and nullify intermediaries, cryptocurrencies were up against an immovable force of traditional assets such as gold, silver, and fiat money.
Moreover, several governments implemented regulations against cryptocurrencies or outright banned them, dampening the hopes of widespread adoption. The frequent exchange hacks and the highly volatile nature of the crypto market further eroded trust, contributing to the dwindling hype.
In contrast to the rocky terrains of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the generative AI landscape is much smoother. It neither needs to combat entrenched systems nor achieve critical mass to flourish. Here's why:
1. Wide Accessibility: Generative AI is a democratic technology. With no specific technical skills required to utilize AI-powered applications, it is open to everyone, not just coders or data scientists.
2. Extensive Applicability: From writing to designing, from producing music to automating repetitive tasks, generative AI can be applied almost anywhere. Its ubiquitous applicability makes it more likely to touch and transform our lives in tangible ways.
3. Freely Available: A considerable number of generative AI tools are open-source and free to use. This attribute nurtures a collaborative, innovative community and circumvents many of the commercial and regulatory hurdles that blockchain and cryptocurrencies faced.
Unlike the seismic shifts required for blockchain and cryptocurrencies to thrive, generative AI comfortably fits within our existing systems. It doesn't require mass acceptance or a system overhaul to create value—it merely needs to be useful, user-friendly, and captivating, and it's already excelling in these dimensions.
Generative AI's hype is fueled by its potential to benefit a wide array of industries and individuals, regardless of their tech-savviness or economic standing. As the technology matures and develops, its integration into our everyday lives will only become more pervasive, further solidifying its significance.
Whereas blockchain and cryptocurrencies symbolized a future upheaval, generative AI represents a contemporary evolution that is much more concrete and achievable. Thus, the hype surrounding it is not just distinct, but also has a much higher potential for longevity.
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Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involve extensive audits to assess the value and potential risks of target companies. As these processes are often complex and time-consuming, innovative solutions like Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make a significant difference when combined with traditional tools used in M&A. By automating aspects of data analysis, generative AI can enhance efficiency, accuracy, and decision-making during M&A audits. Here are five concrete ways this is happening:
1. Automating Due Diligence: During the due diligence process, firms need to scrutinize a vast array of documents, including contracts, financial statements, and operational records. Generative AI can automate this process by reading and summarizing the documents, identifying key points, and flagging potential risks. For example, Kira Systems, a machine learning software provider, utilizes AI to scan and analyze contracts, extracting relevant information and significantly speeding up the due diligence process.
2. Predictive Analysis: Generative AI can generate possible future scenarios based on historical data, assisting companies in assessing potential risks and rewards associated with an acquisition. Palantir's predictive analysis platform, for instance, is used by many businesses for its powerful predictive modeling capabilities, which can generate potential scenarios to help decision-makers strategize and plan for possible outcomes.
3. Financial Auditing: A crucial part of any M&A audit is the assessment of the target company's financial health. Generative AI, like that used by AppZen, an AI platform for finance teams, can automatically audit expenses, invoices, and contracts, detecting discrepancies and anomalies that may point to financial risks. This AI-powered scrutiny provides a deeper understanding of a company's financial status, enabling more informed decision-making.
4. Market Trend Analysis: Understanding market trends and industry dynamics is essential during an M&A audit. Generative AI can analyze large datasets from various sources, identify trends, and generate insightful reports. Tools like AlphaSense, which uses AI to provide market intelligence, can generate these insights, allowing businesses to better assess the potential value and strategic fit of a target company.
5. Cultural Fit Assessment: Analyzing the cultural fit between merging companies is a critical but often overlooked part of M&A audits. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), a type of generative AI, companies can analyze internal communications and gauge company culture. Platforms like DeepAffects use AI to analyze team dynamics, communication patterns, and emotional sentiment, providing insights into cultural compatibility.
In conclusion, generative AI is an increasingly valuable tool in M&A audits, providing companies with deeper insights and streamlining traditionally labor-intensive processes. As AI technology continues to evolve, its capabilities will likely expand, further transforming the landscape of M&A audits. In the race to acquire valuable assets in the business world especially during recession time where speed and accuracy of M&A can provide a competitive advantage, companies equipped with the power of generative AI will undoubtedly have the upper hand.
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Artificial Intelligence (AI), OpenAi (ChatGPT) and the turbo charged pace its presenting itself is increasing all around us, creating fear in many people of becoming replaced by machines in the workplace and also the general fear of the unknown (how will it work? what will it do? do I need to reskill? – are common questions most people are asking themselves). However, instead of being fearful, it's important to consider how to adapt to these emerging technologies. Here is a step-by-step guide to help turn your anxiety about AI & OpenAI into positive action you can take today:
1. Understand AI and its Fundamentals: Understanding the fundamentals of AI, including terminology and its implications, is a crucial first step to understanding the technology. It's important to learn about AI before deciding if it will negatively impact your career path and also it will help you decipher all of the clickbait you are seeing today – this will help reduce your stress levels about the topic.
2. Learn about the Different AI Applications: AI technology is already prevalent in various industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and finance, simplifying and enhancing everyday operations. Knowing how AI is changing different industries can help you identify the opportunities arising from industries adopting AI. Again knowing how its being used in real life examples will also reduce your stress levels about the topic.
3. Explore the Positive Impacts of AI on the Workforce: Just as it has always been in history with anything that is powerful and new, humans have used it for doing good and also doing bad. My advice is focus on the positive, usually the good in anything wins in the end. AI creates new job opportunities in fields such as software engineering and data analysis. Automation of mundane and repetitive tasks has increased efficiency and accuracy. Also focusing on the positives of Ai/OpenAi will help you see the topic in more positive light, helping you retrieve from the shrivelled up scare ball you are in and actually will make you want to learn about the topic as something positive in your life. Positivity has a, well, positive impact on your ability to learn.
4. Ethical and Responsible Integration: The integration of AI into any business or industry should be done ethically and responsibly to ensure maximum benefits for the workforce. It is essential that companies adopting AI technologies ensure ethical integration of the technology. So whatever you are planning on doing with Ai/Open, please make sure you lead by example and use it for things that will do good in the world. Having a clean conscience will help you also stay motivated while learning Ai/OpenAi – learning isn’t easy, whatever help you can get will help you in your new quest to reskill.
5. Upskill Yourself in AI Technology: Learning more about AI technology can enhance your skills in the workforce and prepare you for changing technology landscapes. Understanding AI's capabilities and characteristics can enable a person to make the best possible career decisions. You can do this by taking courses online, talking to any Ai/OpenAi experts that you know (real professionals please not just anyone off tiktok). You can also attend conferences and talk to people at work who have started taking courses too. There are at least 10 ways you can start learning.
6. Experiment with AI Technologies: Familiarizing yourself with AI technology can help alleviate fears and prepare you for challenges, as AI adoption continues to grow. Taking online courses, reading up on the latest research, and experimenting with AI technologies cultivate knowledge, skills, and expertise, differentiating yourself in the market. The best way to learn anything is to get your hands dirty. Many of the Ai/OpenAi offerings have 7 or even 30 day free trials. I would go as far as trying 50 different options out in the market. By trying you will also see that this isn’t rocket science for the most part. That will again help you turn any anxiety about the topic into positive action.
Last but not least – hopefully this really helps you the most. History usually repeats itself when it comes to revolutions. Previous revolutions haven’t happened overnight; it takes time for companies to adopt and set up frameworks, and governments to establish rules and regulations. However, it is important to take positive action to manage anxiety about AI by taking action into your own hands given the steps above. However just remember it won't be years until we see the true impact of this new revolution, so if anything just remember, YOU HAVE TIME!
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AI, Digitization, and Digital Transformation:
Artificial intelligence refers to the development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, problem-solving, and decision-making. Combined with digitization, which involves the conversion of analog information into digital form, AI is transforming the way we live and work.
Digital transformation, on the other hand, encompasses the strategic adoption and integration of digital technologies into all aspects of an organization, leading to increased efficiency, improved customer experiences, and enhanced business outcomes. AI and digitization are inseparable components of this transformation, enabling organizations to leverage data-driven insights, automate processes, and create innovative solutions.
The Impact on Employability and the Future of Work:
As AI and digitization continue to reshape industries, the nature of work is evolving rapidly. Routine, repetitive tasks are being automated, while new roles and opportunities are emerging that require a different skill set. To remain relevant in the job market, professionals need to adapt and develop skills that complement the capabilities of AI and digital technologies.
Key Skills for the Digital Age:
Data Literacy: In a digitized world, data is the new currency. Proficiency in data literacy involves the ability to gather, analyze, and derive insights from data. Understanding how to interpret data and use it to make informed decisions is crucial for professionals in almost every field.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: While AI excels at processing and analyzing large amounts of data, critical thinking and problem-solving remain uniquely human skills. The ability to think critically, analyze complex situations, and develop creative solutions will be highly valued in the digital workplace.
Adaptability and Learnability: In a fast-paced digital environment, adaptability and learnability are essential. Professionals should be open to embracing new technologies, continuously updating their skills, and being agile in response to changing demands.
Collaboration and Communication: As AI and automation take over routine tasks, the need for effective collaboration and communication skills becomes even more important. The ability to work effectively in teams, communicate ideas clearly, and collaborate with both humans and AI-powered systems will be crucial for success.
Ethical and Social Awareness: With the rise of AI, ethical considerations become paramount. Professionals need to understand the ethical implications of AI and ensure its responsible and inclusive use. Additionally, being socially aware and adaptable to the changing dynamics of a digitized world is vital.
The integration of AI, artificial intelligence, digitization, and digital transformation is reshaping the future of work. While some jobs may be automated, new opportunities will arise that require a different skill set. By developing skills such as data literacy, critical thinking, adaptability, collaboration, and ethical awareness, professionals can optimize their employability in the digital age. Embracing these skills will enable individuals to thrive in an increasingly AI-driven and digitized marketplace, ensuring their readiness for the future of work.
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that something as mechanical as AI could inspire people to reconsider their spirituality, but perhaps it is not so far-fetched after all. One of the key benefits of AI is that it can take over many of the mundane, repetitive tasks that previously occupied so much of our time and energy. This leaves people with more free time to ponder the bigger questions in life, such as the nature of existence and the purpose of our lives.
Historically, many scientists and thinkers have found faith in religion after exploring the natural world through science. They have seen the hand of a higher power at work in the intricate design of the universe and the laws that govern it. For example, Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most prominent scientists of the 17th century, was a devout Christian who saw his scientific discoveries as proof of God’s existence. Similarly, Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics, famously said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” These figures show that scientific exploration is not necessarily at odds with religious faith, but can actually strengthen it.
Furthermore, as people have more time to reflect on their place in the world, they may be more open to exploring spirituality. Studies have shown that people who experience job loss often go through a period of self-reflection and re-evaluation of their values and priorities. This can lead to a search for meaning and purpose beyond just a job, which can include exploring religion.
Of course, AI is unlikely to push people towards any particular religion or belief system. However, the newfound free time that comes with job displacement may allow people to explore a wider range of beliefs, or perhaps even discover a personal spirituality that they never knew they had.
It is worth noting, however, that there are also potential drawbacks to the intersection of AI and religion. For example, there is a risk that people may become too reliant on AI for answers to spiritual questions, rather than seeking guidance from human religious leaders or texts. Additionally, some may view the idea of AI guiding people towards religion as uncomfortably dystopian, as it plays into fears of a future in which machines control everything.
Despite these potential pitfalls, however, the idea that AI could facilitate a renewed interest in spirituality is a fascinating one. It highlights the potential for technology not just to save time and make our lives easier, but to inspire us in unexpected and deeply meaningful ways. As people face the prospect of losing their jobs to AI, this may be one silver lining to consider. The more we embrace the benefits of AI, the more we may find ourselves returning to the oldest, most profound questions in life.
In conclusion, the rise of AI technology may lead to job displacement for many workers, but it can also create a newfound interest in the bigger questions of life. By giving people more time and space to contemplate the nature of the universe, AI could possibly facilitate a renewed interest in spiritual exploration. While some may be uncomfortable with the idea of machines guiding people towards religious faith, it is an intriguing possibility that should continue to be explored.