There are computer scientists who advise young students to drop everything and start studying Artificial Intelligence. So profound will be its presence in modern life.
What is AI?
For questions like that–increasingly for ANY question—I go straight to the source. I log on to an AI-driven chatbot called ChatGPT. It’s located at https://chat.openai.com/chat.
According to my new digital friend, Artificial Intelligence is “a broad field that encompasses the development of computer systems and algorithms…capable of performing tasks that would normally require human intelligence.”
Any tool to replace or multiply human intelligence has got my attention.
The reply to my query identified these sectors already influenced, and soon to be more so, by Ai: Health care, education, transportation, customer service, finance, manufacturing, and entertainment.
I mean that’s about everything, right?
In transportation, among a few examples it lists self-driving cars. In finance, it cites analysis of market trends. In entertainment, it says AI has the potential to generate new music and art.
Music and art? Well that I had to see. ChatGPT is text-based, so I couldn’t ask it to sing a song or paint a picture. I did ask it to write a poem about home remodeling in the style of “The Owl and the Pussycat.”
Instantly, it spit out four stanzas including this one.
A paintbrush here, a hammer there
A saw to cut, a screw to pair
A way to fix, a way to mend
A way to make your home blend
I gotta say, it’s not bad, given the quick turnaround. ChatGPT’s responses to most of my questions have been well written and clear—if a little dry and uninspired and lacking in nuance or a sense of humor.
Ha! A robot with a sense of humor. Do I expect too much?
I wondered, could ChatGPT help improve my real estate business? Suppose I had a way to identify homeowners most likely to sell in the next 12 months. I would target those folks with cost-efficient digital ads (maybe AI-generated) pitching my services as a listing agent.
I went to my chatty friend with this seemingly simple plea. Here it wasn’t much help. It said look for homeowners planning to downsize, or facing financial hardship, blah blah. I know, I know. Hey smart guy, I said “identify,” as in names and numbers.
ChatGPT will punt in response to many questions, saying it has no internet access. What? Seriously?
It’s true. Yes, we must connect to ChatGPT via the Internet. But its question-answering prowess stems from an ability to generate human-like text “by predicting the next word in a sequence based on the words that come before it.”
So says the site. Do not ask me to explain further.
A few years ago, I subscribed to a service providing home seller leads. The providers never revealed their secret sauce, but said the algorithm looked at hundreds of relevant factors like homeowner age, outstanding mortgage balance, 30-day late credit card accounts, etc. Any kind of public record info was of potential use.
Looking back at the leads, after the fact, I found they were no better than throwing a dart. I knew it wouldn’t be magic. But my thinking was like this: Sure, older owners with lots of equity may be more likely to sell. No great edge would come from me identifying those likely empty nesters.
BUT…suppose greater predictability could come from finding older, equity-rich homeowners who also play chess and love dogs and drive Volvo station wagons. The correlation of seeming irrelevant factors (I hoped) would produce a gold min of new client leads.
I am no data scientist. Just a guy trying first to understand the vast potential power of AI. And I figure, maybe what didn’t work a few years ago will work a few years from now.
I should not imply ChatGPT is somehow at the core of Artificial Intelligence. It is one of many tools accessible to the public.
Nor should I reduce its significance of it to how it might help my little real estate business. AI tools are already well developed, out there building algorithms to cure cancer and whatnot.
There is a faction of observers who fear potential negative consequences of Artificial Intelligence. What if the robots become malevolent and are driven to dominate the human race? Illustrations in skeptical commentaries often depict such creatures as crazed cartoon robots with piercing red eyes.
Most serious AI observers are dismissive of dire concerns. Elon Musk has been a thought leader among the skeptics, and even he has disavowed any serious fears.
It is fun to connect your own life to AI tools. Here are a few idea starters for ChatGPT:
How can I negotiate lower real este commissions?
Write a standup comedy routine about the Denver Stock Show.
Show me a diet of 2,000 calories per day with recipes and a shopping list.
Log on at https://chat.openai.com/chat. Warning: Its CAPTCHA thing may ask if YOU are a robot.