I created this image in three seconds with generative AI using the application Bazaart.

Today I want to talk to you about generative artificial intelligence, or generative AI. Sound scary? While it certainly could be, it’s going to be an inescapable part of our world. If you don’t believe that, just look at some of the announcements Google issued earlier this week at the 2023 Google I/O event:

  • Google said that moving forward it would become an “AI-first” company, having already integrated artificial intelligence into many of its products.
  • Gmail’s new AI-powered ‘Help Me Write’ feature will allow users to auto-generate entire emails, drawing from previous email correspondences.
  • Google Maps will soon include an AI feature called “Immersive View for Routes,” providing users with a 3D model of their route.
  • Google Photos is introducing ‘Magic Editor’, allowing users to move elements within a photo and fill in missing parts of the image.
  • Google Search will start responding to queries conversationally and handle multifaceted searches. It will also suggest follow-up questions based on user interest in particular links or products.
  • A new chatbot, Bard, powered by Google’s upgraded language model PaLM 2, will soon be available to all users and will support 40 languages, including Japanese and Korean. Bard can write code, create photo captions, and generate AI images with Adobe Firefly.
  • AI features will also be integrated into Google Workspace products, enabling AI-assisted spreadsheet creation in Google Sheets, AI-generated art in Google Slides, and AI-assisted collaboration in various Workspace tools.

None of this would be possible without generative AI, and in this blog post, I am going to introduce you to what it is and give you some examples of how you can start putting it to work for your business today.

What is generative AI?

Well, according to Techopedia, it’s “a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that can be used to create new text, images, video, audio, code or synthetic data.” That means it can produce original content that is similar to what humans can create but with some degree of novelty and variation.

You might be wondering why you should care about generative AI. After all, you’re not an artist or a writer, or a coder, right? You’re a business owner or a manager or a professional who wants to grow your company and serve your customers better. Well, let me tell you why generative AI is relevant for you and your industry.

Generative AI has many potential applications that can benefit businesses of all sizes and sectors. For example, it can help you:

  • Generate new product ideas and designs
  • Create engaging marketing campaigns and content
  • Optimize business processes and workflows
  • Enhance customer service and satisfaction
  • Improve employee training and development
  • Create quality lead magnets in just a few seconds

Sounds amazing, right? But how does it work? How can a machine generate something new and creative?

The answer is: by learning from data. Generative AI systems use machine learning techniques to learn the patterns and structure of the input data, and then generate new content that is similar but not identical to the training data. For example, a generative AI system trained on images of dogs can generate new images of dogs that don’t exist in real life, but look realistic and diverse.

There are different types of generative AI models, but two of the most prominent ones are generative adversarial networks (GANs) and generative pre-trained transformers (GPTs).

Generative Adversarial Networks

GANs consist of two parts: a generator network that creates new data samples, and a discriminator network that evaluates whether the samples are real or fake. The two networks are trained together in a competitive process, with the generator network continually trying to produce better and more realistic samples, while the discriminator network tries to accurately identify the fake ones. GANs can generate realistic images, videos, audio, and other media.

Generative Pre-Trained Transformers

This is the one you’ve probably heard of, thanks to ChatGPT. GPTs are artificial neural networks that are based on transformer architecture, pre-trained on large datasets of unlabelled text, and able to generate novel human-like text. They use large language models (LLMs) to produce data based on the training data set that was used to create them. GPTs can generate text for various purposes, such as chatbots, essays, poems, jokes, and even long-form posts and books.

Before you get too excited about that last part, let me interject that it’s not a push-button solution. That’s because the GPTs are only able to “look back” so far for context. A human will still need to guide it for the best results.

Generative AI in Action

Now that you have a basic understanding of what generative AI is and how it works, let me show you some examples of how it can be used in different industries.

  • In healthcare, generative AI can help create synthetic data for medical research and training purposes. For example, GANs can generate realistic images of organs or diseases that can be used for diagnosis or treatment planning. GPTs can generate natural language summaries of medical records or reports that can help doctors and patients understand complex information.
  • In finance, generative AI can help create synthetic data for fraud detection and risk management purposes. For example, GANs can generate realistic transactions or credit card numbers that can be used to test the robustness of fraud detection systems. GPTs can generate realistic financial reports or market predictions based on historical data, helping analysts to devise strategies and make informed decisions.
  • In retail and e-commerce, generative AI can help create new product designs or marketing content. For example, GANs can generate images of new clothing items or interior design ideas based on current trends, helping retailers to innovate and stay competitive. GPTs can generate product descriptions, customer reviews, or promotional texts that are engaging and persuasive, improving the shopping experience for customers.
  • In the entertainment industry, generative AI can help create new music, movies, or video games. For example, GANs can generate new character designs, scenery, or sound effects that are unique and captivating. GPTs can generate scripts, dialogues, or storylines that are original and compelling, driving creativity and diversity in the entertainment content. Again, for longer-form, humans are a necessity!
  • In the education sector, generative AI can help create personalized learning content or assessment tasks. For example, GANs can generate visual aids or simulations that are tailored to individual learners’ needs, enhancing their understanding and engagement. GPTs can generate study guides, quiz questions, or feedback comments that are relevant and constructive, supporting learners’ progress and achievement.

Simply put, generative AI is a powerful tool that can transform the way we create, work, and learn. While the technology is not without cause for concern – we’ll get into some of why that is in a future post – it’s something you can embrace and use right now for the betterment of your business, society, and yourself.

And as we move forward, it’s a good idea for you to start getting your feet wet with it. After all, the genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no putting it back in. Bing and Google are already using generative AI alongside basic search functions to answer user inquiries. The more informed and open-minded you are about these new technologies, the more likely you’ll be able to stay ahead of the advancements and create opportunities for yourself instead of becoming obsolete.

If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of generative AI for your business, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to discuss your needs and help you navigate this exciting frontier.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep innovating!

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