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Is AI Good for the Company?

Updated: 3 days ago

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The age of AI is upon us. Are you asking the right questions about how it can help your business or nonprofit?

 

When you hear someone say AI, what comes to mind? People of a certain age will think of James Cameron’s Terminator films. Or some will remember J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark’s loyal and polite virtual assistant in the Iron Man films.


For better or worse, the apocalyptic outcomes we see in the fictional universe are what trickle into mind for some. And while it’s important to keep what can go wrong in view, don’t let that sentiment be what holds your team back from exploring how these tools can help.


We get a mix of the following questions at conferences and presentations: Should we use AI? How can it help my business or nonprofit? Is the use of AI ethical? Am I contributing to the greater good? Will my use of AI cost someone their job? Should there be guardrails in place?

 

These are also the questions we ask ourselves internally as we grow and learn along with everyone else. Is this good for the company? There’s no solution to rule them all, so let’s get down to business.


Should we be using AI? How can it help my business or nonprofit?


The answers are entirely dependent on your needs.

 

Are you in need of assistance to accomplish tasks faster so that you can focus on other areas? Does current and prospective client messaging get pushed aside because of the time it takes to create? Do those monthly fundraising emails look a little too similar? Social media content getting stale?


If the answer is yes to any of the above, consider giving one of the AI platforms a try to see if it can help you. ChatGPT, Grammarly and Jasper are a few who offer free trials or free basic use. There are plenty more from which to choose.


A 2023 poll from the Bipartisan Polling Center revealed that 83% of small business owners credited AI for streamlining parts of their businesses by assisting in content creation and improving systems. About 54% said that AI support had “positive impact on business growth.”

 

If you find yourself burdened with too much time in an area where AI can help, it might be worth a look.


Is the use of AI ethical? Should there be guardrails put in place?


The ethics of AI use is a topic that comes up a lot during our presentations and every day conversations with clients and peers.

 

It’s a complicated answer, but like Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

 

Just like ethics come into play in other areas of business, similar tactics come into play here:


  • Be transparent: Don’t take credit for someone else’s work. Large language models like ChatGPT are only now beginning to pay select outlets for the content that they scrape as the model learns. If you use AI to create a blog post, say so. The cover up is always worse than the crime, just ask Sports Illustrated.

  • Be careful: Don’t ever enter any private or proprietary information into one of the AI platforms. In most cases, the models are using your entries to learn. Once you hit enter, the information you provide is out in the open.

  • Be proactive: Have a plan in place for when questions arise from within or from a client or prospect. Should I use AI to make this contact list? I had a prospect ask how much we rely on AI for client communications, what do I say? It’s better to have some guardrails in place from the get-go so you can answer these quickly and confidently.

  • Be thorough: If you are using AI to pull information or create content, check and double check that the information is correct before you distribute or cite it. The free version of ChatGPT stopped learning in 2021, so any information after that won’t be pulled into the system. AI makes mistakes.


Am I contributing to the greater good? Will my use of AI cost someone their job?


Whether we like it or not, AI is here and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Much like social media in its early days, we are still years away from fully realizing its influence and reach and how it will impact our lives.

 

Also, like social media, only you as a business owner, nonprofit employee or human being have the power over how you will use these tools. Use AI to grow your business, not tear someone else’s down. Use AI to streamline your processes, not merely to see how many salaries you can eliminate from payroll.

 

Inevitably, there will be job loss in the early going. Forbes reported in May that out of 47,000 tech jobs that were cut in April, 800 of those were attributed to AI. Over time there will be course corrections when new, AI-centric roles are introduced and need filling.


Act Now to Get Ahead of the Curve


It may not seem like it, but we are at a point where there is still time to be ahead of the curve. Have these discussions now with your team, your management or whomever else you think should be involved. Open, honest, inclusive dialogue always yield the best results when you are seeking what’s best for your brand and your people.


While the above recommendations may not be the solutions you are looking for, they are solid starting points and representative of the many conversations we hear at happy hours and other professional events.

 

While the specter of Skynet lives on in pop culture, AI for the real world is—for now— far away from that dark place. It will only be as good as we make it.

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