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    GenAI is here…
    but how do we use it?

    Published: March 1, 2024

    One topic that we will return to a few times this year is AI; It’s over-hyped by pretty much everyone concerned, especially those who know very little about it. All consulting firms are talking about it and pretty much every firm is AI-washing everything they do. Sometimes it feels like the start of the .com boom – just adding .com to your name does not make you an e-commerce player!

    I said it is over-hyped but is it? Bill Gates said “In my lifetime I have seen two demonstrations of technology that struck me as revolutionary… the GUI and ChatGPT”.

    The problem with all new technologies is people can’t imagine how to use them and it takes time for transformations in the way we work/behave/purchase etc to manifest themselves – who’d have guessed that SQL queries would facilitate wholesale adoption of Just-in-time purchasing?

    This is definitely the case with LLM’s – are they cool and interesting – yes they are clearly doing something very different but how do we put them to use and how will they change our world? We don’t know yet and our imagination is contextually limited. It’s like Jean-Marc Coté trying to imagine and draw what France would look like in the year 2000 from 1899.

    “In my lifetime I have seen two demonstrations of technology that struck me as revolutionary… the GUI and ChatGPT”

    The thing with LLM’s is they are very good at some things but they are not infallible – because GPT4 said so doesn’t make it right. But generally it is quite easy to say if something they do is right or not which led Benedict Evans to compare them to having ‘infinite interns’ all doing simple tasks that you can then select the answer from. For example, we want to promote a new service and want a picture to represent the service – ask Generative AI to produce 20 examples of promotional pictures and pick the best (or use it as a base and refine).

    GPT4 is good at many things but being specific about what it does and where it fits is difficult – see the graphic from Benedict Evans:

    Developers have found that GPT4 can help with specific tasks – it doesn’t write great code from scratch but if you have specific functions you want to implement and haven’t done before it can help. For example a front end developer wants to add a sign in with google/apple/facebook feature – GPT4 can give you the code for this that you can then refine.

    The tech industry moves in waves, I think there is no doubt that GenAI is powerful and it is going to reshape our world but how – we don’t know yet. It’s like the start of the .com boom, something was clearly shifting but in what direction? No one back in 2000 imagined Cloud computing or cyber warfare or firms like AirBnB or Uber.


    David Collins, Managing Director - First Derivative

    David Collins
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