An Introduction to Generative AI

Unless you have been living off the grid for a few years, you’ve probably heard the commotion about the use of generative AI in personal and business settings. From online chatbots that help answer your questions about products and services to machines that analyze mounds of data, this form of machine learning is taking on new and innovative methods to improve our lives in multiple ways.  Artificial intelligence has major positive implications and applications in our world today. Generative AI can benefit businesses in any industry by automating tasks, analyzing data, and enabling the creation of content. These are just a few of the ways that this technology can help workplaces and individuals increase their productivity and improve their bottom line.  Let’s examine what generative AI is, how it works, its history in the workplace, real-world applications and a few of the more popular examples of generative AI being used currently. 

Who’s Using AI? 

A vast majority of Americans (90%) say they have heard about some form of generative AI, according to a November 2023 Pew Research Report. However, studies also show that too many Americans don’t quite understand the way AI works or how it could help in the workplace or at home to make life easier or improve workflow. In fact, only 18% of Americans report that they have used one of the more prominent examples of generative AI such as ChatGPT. 

What Is Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)? 

Generative AI is described as a type of artificial intelligence that mimics human creativity and intelligence. For example, generative AI can assist with creating content, writing texts, and making digital images, as well as creating music, audio, and videos. It can also analyze large amounts of data in a timely manner.  While many Americans have heard of this technology, very few are using it to support work or home tasks. ZDNet reports that there is one generation that seems to be embracing and investing in generative AI - Generation Z, with more than 70% reporting that they regularly use AI at home and work. 


Real-World Applications for AI 

Many of us are aware of how chatbots work when searching the internet regarding products and services. Traditionally, these chatbots appear as a small popup box on the screen. Generative AI goes way beyond just helping match consumers to the products they are searching for.  AI can be used in many industries including healthcare, marketing, education, research, finance, transportation, retail, cyber security, agriculture, manufacturing, and aerospace. The list could go on and on.  Specific applications that many businesses find helpful in daily workflow include using AI to review job applications, produce content, improve customer service, modeling, forecasting, voice assistants, facial recognition, and speed up workflow.  Here’s a quick compilation of how businesses in multiple industries are using the power of AI

How Does It Work? 

Generative AI is a type of machine learning that trains software to make predictions based on mounds of data that have been previously processed. The process was inspired by the human brain in its ability to distinguish patterns and make predictions on what might happen next. The software uses its own form of neural networks to handle complex patterns in the same way the human brain does.  The generative AI process starts with feeding a large language model (LLM) huge amounts of data and then the algorithm uses that data to generate output or responses. Without getting too technical, generative AI models are trained to recognize patterns in data and then use that given pattern to create new data. In short, it predicts the next piece of data in a sequence whether that data is a word, visual, pixel, or sentence.  For instance, a marketing manager wants to come up with a new slogan for a company in a certain industry. They plug in prompts with information about the company and then what terms apply to that unique company. The program will then output potential ideas for the slogan using the data input.  Due to the ability of the machine to learn and predict, some users react to the technology with enthusiasm while others feel concern for its future use. For the most part, industries should put this new technology to use to increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and make work slightly easier.

The Evolution of AI

The technology of AI is currently in the news cycle but is not new to the technology world. In the 1950s with Alan Turing’s research on machine thinking and his creation of the eponymous Turing Test. The Turing Test is a method of determining whether a machine can demonstrate human intelligence.  In the 1960s generative AI was first used in chatbots. By 2014, research scientist Ian Goodfellow developed generative adversarial networks (GANS) which pit two neural networks against each other to generate realistic content.  By 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT, a large language model that attracted over 100 million users within two months, representing the fastest adoption of a service in history. Today, there are multiple models and examples of generative AI that are used across the globe. 

Popular Gen AI Platforms

Some of the more popular Generative AI Platforms include Microsoft’s CoPilot, Google’s Gemini (formerly Bard), and Open AI’s ChatGPT along with so many more. In our next blog, we will further explore the features and use of three of these but for now, some of the features of these platforms include: Now that you have the basics of generative AI, it may seem less confusing and more powerful as a business tool than you realized. In our next series of blogs, we will explore the real-world applications of AI for your business and the benefits of this technology for your productivity, efficiency, team morale, and budget.  For more information about generative AI and how it can be incorporated into your business, contact us online, call us at (978) 219-9752, or visit us at Mill 58 on Pulaski Street in Peabody. We look forward to hearing from you!