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Genie Out Of The Bottle: Generative AI As Growth Catalyst

Since generative AI technology exploded on the scene, many enterprises have been scrambling to determine how their businesses might benefit. The answer might be simpler than they think.

Starting around 2015, people began referring to almost any application of machine learning as artificial intelligence. Some pundits and industry experts pushed back. These applications were pattern matchers, they said. Given an input, they return an output. The models didn’t think, but rather computed probabilities, so how could they be intelligent?

Generative AI makes moot the question of whether machines can be intelligent. The underlying operation of these models shares much in common with earlier machine learning tools, but thanks to accelerated computing power, better training data, and clever applications of neural networks and deep learning, generative AI technology can imitate human cognition in a number of ways. More and more often, machines that possess intelligence in at least a functional, practical sense create the opportunity for huge productivity and efficiency gains in enterprise settings, as well as the opportunity to bring innovative new products and services to new markets.

In plenty of instances, AI tools perform at least as well as, if not better than, human counterparts in tests of cognitive capabilities. ChatGPT recently scored a 5—“extremely well qualified” on the notoriously challenging Advanced Placement biology test. The Dall-E 2 image generator was able to solve Raven’s Matrices, a test given to measure a subject’s visual IQ. Anthropic’s Claude 2 chatbot scored above the 90th percentile in the verbal and writing sections of the GRE test, which is used by many graduate schools in the United States and Canada as part of their admissions standards. In fact, AI tools now consistently outperform humans on measures of handwriting, speech, and image recognition; reading comprehension; and language understanding.

The question is no longer whether AI tools are intelligent. Today the question is more about how to deploy these cognitive tools in ways that provide real business impact.


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