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Consider varying needs for ChatGPT tasks when creating guidelines for AI use

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“One of my employees used ChatGPT successfully for planning a new project. While the document needed some editing, I was impressed with the result. Someone asked me, though, what are we doing about having some guidelines for the use of generative AI. As a small business, we don’t have the time or the resources to devote to developing an elaborate guidebook. And like others, I think we’re at a very early stage using this. What do you suggest?”

Some say it’s been overhyped, but we’re sure hearing a lot about the use of generative AI these days for everything from customer service to marketing to data analysis to website and content development and more. There’s no question that the use of generative AI is increasing, with many predicting that it will revolutionize business.

But what about the small business that’s just beginning to think about using AI? How do they develop guidelines or standards when they don’t know what they’ll be doing with AI in the future?

Indeed, companies are in “varying places” in their use of generative AI, wrote AI product expert Tarun Chopra in a blog for Medium on this topic in December. “Some are ahead, some are in the middle, and some are just getting started.”

That variability was confirmed in research by the National Bureau of Economic Research cited in a February report by MIT’s Sloan Management School, which said generative AI is making its way into business, but so far, its adoption is “uneven,” with use primarily by larger companies.

Researchers found that more than 50 percent of companies with more than 5,000 employees were using generative AI and more than 60 percent of companies with more than 10,000 employees were using it. They noted a lot of variability among business sectors with about 12 percent of firms in manufacturing, IT and health care using AI, compared with just 4 percent in retail and construction.

On the small business side, a poll conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the business intelligence company Morning Consult, found that the use of AI is increasing among small businesses and that 83 percent of small business owners who use AI have seen benefits, including improvements in systems, content development and efficiency.

Their study found that the biggest barriers to AI use among small businesses include the cost of AI tools, uncertainty over possible government regulation, concerns about data privacy, not knowing what tools to use and employees’ lack of digital skills.

Before beginning work on the development of an elaborate set of guidelines, experts suggest thinking about where your company is in working with AI and what problems would make sense for AI tools to solve. That might include issues in marketing, recruitment, or customer service, for example, which are common uses for AI tools.

“Regardless of where you stand in your AI journey, the biggest question you have to ask yourself is what problem you’re trying to solve. A lot of people get enamored by technology, but if you don’t know what problem you’re trying to solve, then it’s very easy to get carried away and spend millions of dollars trying to jump on the generative AI bandwagon without knowing where you’re going,” Chopra wrote.

One way or another, let your staff point the way, says Jason Kuperberg, a Rochester native and co-founder of OthersideAI which builds AI software, including HyperWrite, an advanced AI-powered research and writing assistant.

“At the end of the day, your staff knows your business, process and needs,” he says. “They are the ones best suited to identify opportunities to use AI to speed up work and get more done for your organization.”

“Don’t think of AI as replacing staff. Instead, think of it as allowing your team to do more and higher-quality work. Implement processes that combine the unique skills of humans and Ai for the best results.”

The guidelines you develop for adopting AI should be similar to what you’d use to test any other new technology with a few extra precautions, Kuperberg says, noting that he’d recommend a three-phase process.

The first is experiment. “Explore ChatGPT, HyperWrite and other AI tools. See how they respond to your prompts and instructions and test their capabilities.”

The next step, he says, is problem-solving. “When you’re facing a problem, use an AI tool as a thought partner. Ask questions and talk through solutions.”

And the third step is about automating processes. “Find repetitive or creative tasks and create internal systems using AI tools to speed up or automate the process. Think of AI as another member of your team to help give ideas or speed up the pace of monotonous or repetitive work.”

For example, if a small e-commerce business is struggling to keep up with a high volume of customer inquiries, they should use AI tools to brainstorm ideas to respond to difficult customer scenarios or get feedback on proposed wording. “Next, they can create prompts for the AI that give examples of their company’s preferred tone and style, along with information on policies and products.”

Finally, they can integrate AI into their customer service workflow to help draft responses that would be reviewed and edited by a team member before sending. “By thoughtfully implementing AI, the team can improve customer service quality and reduce response time,” Kuperberg says. “This maintains a personal touch and team oversight while saving significant time on a repetitive process.”

He cautions businesses not to share information with an AI that they wouldn’t share online. “Most top AI tools are quite safe but take extra precautions as you begin to adopt AI. Avoid sharing private internet data or customer information with an AI tool.”

Kuperberg says he totally encourages experimentation with AI tools and empowering teams to identify the right opportunities for increased efficiency and productivity and at the same time “ensuring responsible use and maintaining human oversight.”

To understand the territory better, you can also work on training and certifications, says Arturo Ferreira, co-founder of the AI Tool Report, which has partnered with the Society of Human Resource Management to develop training and certifications for companies.

In developing standards and guidelines, small businesses should focus on three areas, he says, including a general understanding (including background on AI, current AI and how to use it); basic cybersecurity, what NOT to do with AI and what to do in case of a suspected breach; and governance, including a simple plan to implement AI “effectively and responsibility.”

Take the time to find a reliable trainer to teach the core areas, he says. Carve out realistic timeframes for training and plan a “recap and lesson update” in six months.

“I’ve been training companies and people on AI for a long time now, and I find the learning curve feels steep but it usually quite short,” he says. “Generally speaking, most small businesses can accomplish this with a few total hours of training.”

Managers at Work is a monthly column exploring the issues and challenges facing managers. Contact Kathleen Driscoll with questions or comments by email at [email protected]

Originally Appeared Here

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