ChatGPT: friend or foe?

6 mins

AI is changing the world. From e-payments, sat navs and maps to smart recommendations, facia...

AI is changing the world. From e-payments, sat navs and maps to smart recommendations, facial recognition and digital assistants, AI is speeding up everyday tasks and making life a little easier for us all…most of the time!

A recently released Natural Language Processing (NLP) platform is causing quite the stir globally. There are mixed opinions on the AI generated chatbot ChatGPT, which has far superior abilities in understanding natural-sounding language to other chatbots. Designed to answer questions, assist with and automate tasks across a variety of industries, it’s affecting all areas of technology including Software, Data, DevOps and Cybersecurity as well as other professions.

It’s fair to say that ChatGPT has taken the world by storm. Less than 6 months after its release at the end of 2022, ChatGPT had already gained 1.8 billion monthly visitors and over 100 million users. Now, the question is: is ChatGPT a threat to certain roles, or should professionals be embracing this latest AI phenomenon? Here we discuss the pros and cons of ChatGPT and how tech professionals can incorporate it into their daily work.

The benefits of ChatGPT

Automating tasks

Let’s start with the fact that, like most AI, ChatGPT can free up valuable time by helping to automate repetitive tasks. For the tech industry, examples include manual data entry, running a script, or coding.

One of the biggest benefits of using ChatGPT in Software, Data, Cybersecurity, and DevOps is its ability to understand natural language. Engineers can communicate with ChatGPT in everyday language to ask it to perform a task, instead of having to write complex code. By automating these tasks, engineers can save time and focus their efforts on more complex and/or creative projects. Tech expert and former chief technical advisor at MaRS Osh Momoh talks about how ChatGPT can be used for coding and says, “More elements of software development will just get delegated to machines.”

Talking to a Data Engineering Chapter Lead in our network about ChatGPT, he confirms this and says: “I know some colleagues who are not very good at writing code, so they use ChatGPT for that and it helps them. But I prefer writing code (in languages and environments I’m familiar with) myself, as ChatGPT is in many cases outdated, error-prone, and too wordy compared to the results I can find on the internet. I mainly use ChatGPT for things that I can’t find on Google in an easy-to-read form. I also use it more if I’m working on something I don't know very well or as a "sparring" partner for discussions, to check if my arguments work.” 

And that brings us to our next benefit: real-time feedback.

Real-time feedback

For technology specialists, this function of ChatGPT will be of particular use in coding. When you create a new ‘pull’ request, it’ll automatically review your code before quickly alerting you to bugs or errors that may have been missed by human eyes.

But ChatGTP’s abilities don’t end there, and it can also suggest improvements that will take your code to the next level. Last but not least, it can also provide real-time feedback on text and data. Could ChatGTP be your new secret weapon for ensuring the quality of your code and data stays high?

Streamlining processes

ChatGPT’s becoming popular for streamlining workflows and assisting with project and time management. It does this by providing reminders on deadlines, scheduling meetings, and keeping track of tasks, which can help tech professionals, and others in just about any other industry/sector, stay organised and more focused on their work.

Users also benefit from instant access to data with ChatGPT. Searches for information, evidence and language translations are all possible. And the platform can also speed up lengthy document reviewing processes, taking full text versions and generating much shorter summaries of the material. Again, really useful in lots of lines of work and for helping businesses to win back valuable hours.

The cons of ChatGPT

So, we’ve explored how ChatGPT can save time and reduce workload via automation, provide real-time feedback on data or code, and assist with project management. But like anything, there are some downsides to the AI for tech specialists.

Firstly, AI programmes like ChatGPT are widely known for lacking human intuition and creativity. There’s potential for insensitivity, bias, and miscommunication. Even sexism according to this article by Forbes. But, on the other hand, it’s highly possible for bias-related issues to be coded out of technology like ChatGPT in the future.

And there’s still some way to go on ChatGPT’s accuracy when it comes to answering complex questions or analysing large amounts of data, too. Proofreading and reference checking service Scribbr points out that “[ChatGPT] does not answer based on a database of facts but rather based on patterns, and this can lead to unintentional errors. Additionally, the information it was trained on only goes up to 2021, so it can’t answer questions about more recent events accurately.”

Another risk of ChatGPT, and especially in the tech world, is issues surrounding security. Technology professionals should be aware of the dangers of colleagues sharing sensitive or personal information online - there’s always a chance it could be accessed by others. But there are also threats around malware – generative AI that writes ethical code can also write malware! Yes, ChatGPT flags illegal entries, but it’s still possible to amend ChatGPT-generated code for use in cyber-attacks.

And finally, you’ve probably heard that chatbots like ChatGPT could lead to job losses in the tech world and elsewhere. Research from Goldman Sachs suggested that 300 million jobs worldwide will be affected by generative AI. The good news, though? “…worker displacement from automation has historically been offset by the creation of new jobs, and the emergence of new occupations following technological innovations…”, according to another of Goldman Sach’s analysts in a recent report that predicted economic growth due to AI.


The future of ChatGPT

Despite both pros and cons of ChatGPT, and other AI, there’s no doubt it’s here for the foreseeable future. Info-Tech Research Group reports suggests that 44% of private sector companies plan to invest in AI systems in 2023. And TechJury found that 35% of companies are using AI and 42% of companies are exploring AI for future implementation.

As AI technology continues to advance, it is likely that chatbots like ChatGPT will become more sophisticated, overcoming some of the current inaccuracy and security risks, and integrating more and more into daily workflows. In some industries, they may even become a necessity. The key is learning how to work alongside them effectively and to maximise their benefits.

Asking a Senior Data Engineer in our network about his experience with ChatGPT, he says: “I’ve used ChatGPT in scenarios where creative thinking is required and a brainstorm with colleagues is not an option. I’ve been reluctant in using its answers immediately as a definitive solution, but by conducting some research on its answers, you can really combine its strong capabilities with your own technical expertise to provide great value to your client.” And he adds, “In general, when the internet was more frequently used in the commercial world, it wasn’t about who knew the most anymore, but about who knows where you can find your answers the quickest and with the highest accuracy (like Google did). Now, we are at a second iteration where you can create products as long as you know what to ask the machine.”

At Apollo Solutions, we work hard to stay on top of the latest market trends, which means we have the additional knowledge to help with all your hiring and job search needs. And guess what? We use AI to our advantage too. Ready to chat? Get in touch.

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