AI Productivity Gains Are Not Limited To Big Tech
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fueling a new push in technology. It’s here and it’s disrupting industries across the globe. Some of the disruption is real and some of it is just hype – a lot of “AI” is really just deep machine learning and enhanced algorithms that we’ve been seeing companies use for years. However, the potential for real workplace productivity enhancement is real and merits further examination. Whether it’s for programmers, copywriters, financial analysts, or part time podcasters, the potential productivity gains for information age workers are huge.
AI Tools In The Workplace:
Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT or Alphabet’s Baird are incredibly helpful in improving productivity in the workplace. They have a range of capabilities that can make work easier and more efficient.
One of the most popular uses for LLMs is to quickly find and summarize information, saving employees valuable time. Instead of sifting through large volumes of data or documents, LLMs can analyze and provide the most relevant insights, helping employees access the information they need in a fraction of the time. Modern LLMs can summarize various inputs, from PDFs to articles to tables and even visual data. Rather than simply having a search function that can identify a word or a string of words, the new LLMs can provide whole text analysis.
Similarly, LLMs are excellent writing companions. They can suggest content, fix grammatical and spelling errors, and even enhance the overall quality of written work. This ensures that employees can produce high-quality documents, emails, and reports without spending too much time on editing and proofreading. These tools are also exceptionally helpful in scaling documents up or down, or making the language appropriate for people with different educational backgrounds. They are also helpful in manipulating templates or fitting information to different formats. For example, an LLM could take a basic input and reformat it in the style of a newspaper article or blog post, or help pull out key points to highlight on a brochure or flyer.
Another space where the new AI tools are making a huge impact is in the world of coding and programming. They provide several benefits that streamline the coding process and enhance productivity.
When faced with coding challenges or seeking solutions, LLMs can serve as knowledgeable companions. They can understand programming concepts and languages, offering suggestions and guidance to programmers. Whether it’s assisting with syntax, providing code snippets, or suggesting optimized algorithms, LLMs can help programmers overcome hurdles and write code more efficiently. Furthermore, LLMs can assist in code completion. As programmers type, LLMs can predict the next lines of code based on context and commonly used patterns. This feature significantly speeds up coding by reducing the need for manual typing and reducing the chances of errors. Much of programming is repetitive or involves using prebuilt language that’s well known and well documented – the AI can fill in those gaps to make programming faster and more accurate.
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LLMs can also aid in programming through code refactoring suggestions or debugging. Programmers can work with the LLMs to identify current problems in a set of code, or analyze currently functional code to see if it can be streamlined to prevent future failures. Using LLMs for this reduces the need to upload and beta test programs as intensively and drastically reduces the time it takes to diagnose issues when something isn’t working.
AI Makes Your Best Employees Better:
As powerful as LLMs are for helping curate content or computer code, they might actually be even better at automating repetitive tasks. Time-consuming activities like data entry, scheduling, and generating routine reports can be handled by many modern LLMs, freeing up employees to focus on more important and strategic work. It’s like having a reliable virtual assistant that takes care of mundane tasks, allowing individuals to dedicate their attention to more complex and valuable tasks.
This same capacity applies to not only administrative work, but also to spaces like customer support and service. Well designed AI enhance virtual assistants and chatbots, allowing them to interact more deeply with customer questions and provide a broader range of helpful responses.
Note, in each of the above scenarios, the AI is not replacing the valuable employee with exceptional skillsets. Rather, the AI is reducing the time highly capable employees have to spend on the more mundane portions of their day. The customer service reps can spend more time troubleshooting complex cases and giving curated care to the people who need it, instead of directing someone to the password reset interface for the 100th time. Or in the case of coding – programmers now get to spend more time trying to solve complex problems instead of writing and doublechecking basic code.
Productivity enhancements can lead to different outcomes for different groups. While some groups on the front end of the curve are likely to become super users, those who are less able to rapidly adapt AI as a sidekick face a different set of challenges and risk being left behind. It is essential businesses recognize these technological changes and help their employees adapt.
Investing In Productivity Gains Outside Technology
Every company can benefit from big gains in productivity. However, not every company will see the same impact. Companies who provide a lot of customer service or who have big implementation costs stand to gain in a big way as coders and customer service representatives see their productivity scale.
Think about a companies like ServiceNow NOW or Salesforce CRM for example. They have a ton of different offerings and implementations they customize for every team who joins them. AI assisted coding and customer service probably mean they can get more customers up to speed with more products at a lower cost. That’s good for the business, both in terms of revenue and in terms of margins! Or think about health insurance companies like United Healthcare who have to provide sales and customer service support to huge numbers of people on the front end, and have to maintain and expand huge data systems on the back end of the business. Improved productivity with the assistance of AI could be really impactful and will soon start to show up in company earnings calls and press releases.
The same concepts apply across companies and industries. In finance it could be big insurance companies like Prudential using AI for underwriting or big brokerage firms like Schwab who can use AI to help with compliance or customer support. For Amazon AMZN or DoorDash it could help with logistics and routing, or customer interfaces. The point is – the opportunities are huge and they are absolutely everywhere. Companies with big data sets, lots of repetitive tasks, big customer bases – don’t just think about the big tech companies providing AI services.
One final note – just as AI can make it easier for companies to build and grow and take care of their customers, AI can also make it easier for the competition to catch up if a company isn’t adapting quickly. Just as AI presents opportunities for big companies willing to embrace it, it also poses a risk to the slow adopters. Look out for companies who are reluctant to innovate or who don’t have the budgets and leadership to take the aggressive steps forward.