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AI – what do you need to know?

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By Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer, RefTech

In the fast-paced world of event planning, staying ahead is crucial. It’s been hard to not hear about everything that’s happening in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately with ChatGPT being talked about in almost every circle, but it’s far from being the only AI tool in town right now so let’s talk about how things are evolving at a ridiculous pace and what practical things you should know to start using some of these tools to your advantage.

First, the AI tools that we are seeing now are what are known as Large Language Models. That means they are trained to understand natural language interactions with people so that we can ask questions just like we would be talking to another human in an instant messaging application.

So, you’ve heard of ChatGPT but there are other free tools that you might want to experiment with. At the time of writing, Google has Bard and Microsoft has Copilot, both of which are interesting in different ways. For example, MS Copilot has a setting to allow it to be more creative or more precise which is intended to cut down on AI hallucinations (more on that later).

Tips for success

The AI tools are given enormous data sets to learn from and this can be a key difference. ChatGPT for example, only knows of anything up until January 2022. Bard and Copilot on the other hand are much more up to date with current affairs and can answer questions based on them but their approach to that varies quite a bit. It’s worth trying the three models with similar questions to see how they respond.

  • Understanding AI:

Start by recognising that AI is a tool designed which respond to user prompts. While there are free versions, some of the platforms have a subscription option with additional features that may very easily pay for themselves – how much would an AI tool have to generate for you to justify $20 a month?

  • Engage Thoughtfully:

AI thrives on clear and concise input. The better your instructions or queries, the more refined and accurate the output. For example, if drafting an email, provide specific instructions such as, “Compose a formal email introducing our company to a prospective client.”

  • Give Some Direction:

Adjust the tone to suit your needs. AI may default to an eager, somewhat bland, American style. However, you can guide it by asking to adopt a specific persona or writing style, such as a ‘British journalist’ or ‘formal academic.’

  • Point of View:

Explore the tool’s versatility by asking AI to adopt a particular point of view. This feature is particularly useful for generating content that debates the pros and cons of a topic.

  • Don’t Hesitate to Iterate:

Consider the initial text generated as a starting point rather than the finished product. Some have a way to regenerate the answer while others can show you multiple drafts of the answer, fostering a back-and-forth interaction that helps AI learn and improve over time.

  • Understanding the Capabilities:

AI is a versatile assistant capable of various tasks, depending on the platform, this can include drafting emails, coding, answering questions and creating social media content. However, it’s essential to acknowledge limitations – if a particular model lacks access to real-time data for example.

  • Privacy and Security:

Exercise caution when sharing information with ChatGPT. Avoid divulging sensitive or confidential data, as demonstrated by a PR agency inadvertently sharing stock exchange information, resulting in a misleading response.

  • Fact-Checking Matters:

While AI is a powerful tool, it can engage in what’s known as “AI hallucinations” where it essentially makes up information when unable to find facts. Always verify information independently to ensure accuracy.

Embracing AI responsibly can significantly streamline tasks, boost productivity, and enhance your event planning. By understanding its capabilities, engaging thoughtfully, and maintaining a cautious approach, you’ll find that these current AI tools can be a valuable asset in your toolkit. Be aware that these tools are evolving very quickly right now and that there are other AI tools that can generate images and infographics already available and are continuing to evolve.

We’re not in danger of creating “Skynet” just yet but AI is a very interesting area that may well help us be more efficient and productive in a lot of different ways.

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