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Article | Innovation

AI on main street

On Nov. 30, 2022, the development company OpenAI launched its chatbot program, ChatGPT, and shifted the tenor around artificial intelligence (AI) in the public domain. The concept of AI has been fantasized about, developed and used by organizations for over a half-century, but ChatGPT’s launch and the anticipated release of Google’s product, Bard, have made AI accessible and signaled the first tangible use for a mainstream audience. Now, it consumes headlines, dinner conversations and is at the top of the list in strategic discussions among business leaders.

Baker Tilly’s internal innovation and digital analytics teams are continuing to closely monitor the evolution of hard and soft trends. AI’s integration into the workplace and people’s daily lives feels inevitable, cementing it as a hard technology trend. Already we have seen the impact of ChatGPT and similar tools on several industries, even while these technologies are still in their early stages. We’re continuing to analyze potential use cases because it is no longer a matter of IF, but HOW this technological advancement will change both our business and that of our clients. 

Industry impacts

Higher education institutions face a polarizing inflection point as AI and the use of programs like ChatGPT are becoming pervasive, requiring institution leaders to consider establishing policies embracing or restricting these technologies to varying degrees. Higher Education Practice Leader Dave Capitano and Risk Advisory Principal Adrienne Larmett shared the following insights into the challenges and potential uses for AI in the industry.

Critics of AI programs will cite plagiarism concerns, given ChatGPT could generate a cogent thousand-word essay in seconds, and a report recently shared that ChatGPT successfully passed an MBA exam at the Warton School of Business. Consequentially, could we see pedagogy revert to more handwritten or oral means of instruction and testing? Supporters of the technology see uses in research, co-authoring and the booming esports space as well as business uses within institutions regarding workforce and operations to support overall student success.

Amid the challenges, it does feel the emphatic emergence and speed at which AI is advancing will necessitate institutions to address AI for their students, instructors and organization. Baker Tilly specialists can assist to implement and monitor whatever path an organization chooses in welcoming this new technology.

As millennial and Gen Z consumers are increasingly looking for a digital experience with financial institutions like banks, credit unions and online brokerages, these organizations have a glaring opportunity to integrate AI to create cost savings, make data-driven decisions and provide a dynamic customer experience. For example, developing AI programs to identify trading opportunities based on data and market trends, while also having the power to execute transactions, is a possibility to advise clients efficiently and at a reasonable cost on portfolio management decisions. Additionally, the infusion of chatbots and natural language processing can create a seamless customer experience with the potential to mirror human-to-human interaction.

As AI continues its exponential growth, organizations should proactively consider the ethical, legal and regulatory implications that will arise from its adoption and integration. By proactively addressing these considerations, organizations can harness the power of AI while mitigating potential risks.

Looking into the future

The future of AI is bright, and in the short term, companies such as OpenAI and its flagship program, ChatGPT are poised to play a crucial role. ChatGPT represents just the beginning of what AI can do so it’s important to acknowledge it's a tool, not a replacement for human judgment or expertise. With its versatile interface that goes beyond formulas and code, ChatGPT and other AI programs are changing the way we interact with information and technology while introducing new possibilities for the intersection of computing and human interaction. The future of AI is unknown, but we’ll continue to monitor the exciting developments now, for tomorrow.

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Keeping a pulse on current and emerging trends helps us navigate the potential impacts and opportunities for our clients and our firm. 

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