There is a litany of different ways OpenAI’s GPT natural language model and similar chatbots are being put to use in every industry sector imaginable, and they range from the practical to head-scratchingly bizarre.
Proof of the latter occurred last week in Germany, when the editor of a magazine called Die Aktuelle no doubt ended what up to that point had been a stellar career in journalism. She was terminated for running a front-page story that was labeled the ‘first interview’ with former F1 racing great Michael Schumacher since he suffered severe head injuries while skiing in France on December 29, 2013, and who has been confined to his Swiss mansion under doctor’s care for the past nine years.
The problem was that the interview did not actually occur, and according to one published report, “it emerged in the article that the quotations had been generated by character.ai, an AI chatbot similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.”
Die Aktuelle’s publisher quickly issued a statement that apologized to the Schumacher family, and also said that “immediate personnel consequences will be drawn. Editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has held journalistic responsibility for the paper since 2009, will be relieved of her duties as of today.”
In contrast, an example of AI being used for practical and ethical business purposes occurred earlier this month when ConnectWise, a Tampa, Fla.-based software developer that services IT solution providers (TSPs), launched a core capability in the company’s Asio platform: Microsoft AI-assisted PowerShell scripting across two products – ConnectWise Automate and ConnectWise RMM. Microsoft defines PowerShell as a task automation and configuration management program.
According to a release, with this new “feature powered by ConnectWise’s hosted instance of OpenAI GPT, complex tasks can be automated and custom scripts or command tasks can be quickly executed.”
Instead of using AI for attention-grabbing sensational reasons, which was the case at Die Aktuelle, ConnectWise’s strategy was to help, not hurt.
Ameer Karim, the firm’s general manager and executive vice president of unified monitoring and management, said the company’s goal has always been to “simplify life” for managed service providers (MSPs) with technology that helps them work smarter and more efficiently.
“The unprecedented growth in artificial intelligence has provided us with new opportunities to do that,” he said. “AI integration into our existing (offerings) saves MSPs countless hours.”
Jason Short, vice president of product management, unified monitoring, and management with ConnectWise, said, “writing a script in an application is often much manual work and can be time-consuming. By leveraging the power of advanced AI technology to write scripts in ConnectWise Automate and ConnectWise RMM, partners can quickly review each script, edit if necessary and deploy it to their clients. As a result, a process that could once take an entire afternoon is now shortened to 10-15 minutes or less.”
In an interview with IT World Canada, Karim said that while the company’s development team has been “looking at AI for a few years now, and trying to carefully understand how we want to use this level of intelligence as a way to help MSPs,” the introduction of the generative AI language model last fall spurred on an announcement by the company in early February.
That involved an integration with ChatGPT for ConnectWise Automate and ConnectWise RMM. The company said its use of AI technology “will enable MSPs to automate customer ticketing and issue-tracking processes, leading to faster response times and improved customer service and engagement.”
Despite these and other advances, in a blog posted earlier this month targeted at the MSP community, Short wrote that with “unprecedent growth comes risk.
“The rise of conversational AI provides a unique opportunity to force multiply your value. Machine learning touches nearly every part of our world and is transforming the way we live, work, and interact with each other, and it is not slowing down. However, with its unprecedented growth, it is not without risk.
“It’s essential to understand the potential risks associated with using AI, so you can take the necessary steps to set up processes and guardrails to minimize the risk to you and your clients.”
And, Karim said, “from a ConnectWise perspective, we believe AI needs to be used responsibly, for we are mindful of what the power of it can be.”