Embracing and Leveraging AI
By Beth Buehler
Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to make big waves in the workplace, meetings and events industry, and peoples’ personal lives. At Destination Colorado Meetings’ membership meeting on April 28 in Denver, speaker Todd Mitchem discussed “Embracing and Leveraging AI: How Business & Individuals Can Thrive in the Workplace of the Future.”
Based in the Denver area, Mitchem is a keynote speaker, author and consultant who helps organizations and individuals navigate the rapidly changing landscape of work. As a former technology CEO, he is empowering businesses and people on the topics of artificial intelligence (AI) integration strategies and human skills development.
The educational part of the gathering was held at The Local Drive’s 2,400-square-foot meeting and event space, followed by networking in the adjoining 5,100-square-foot bar featuring five Trackman golf simulators. The appetizers and cocktails were prepared by Serendipity Catering.
Here are highlights from Mitchem’s presentation about embracing and leveraging AI.
Overview of AI: ChatGPT & Other Tools
ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool that enables users to generate conversation with AI-powered chatbots. This technology was launched in November 2022 by OpenAI. GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer.
It is like an individual who works for you and requires specific instructions. “You must prompt it correctly,” Mitchem says. “The prompt engineer is a new position. They make $200,000-plus, and their job is mastering the art of prompting AI.”
He adds, “You won’t be replaced by AI in the beginning. You will be replaced by someone who knows how to use it.”
Within a week of launch, ChatGPT crossed 1 million users. Within one month, there were more than 57 million users. By January 2023, there were 100 million-plus users overall, 13 million active users visiting ChatGPT per day, and a $10 billion investment in OpenAI by Microsoft to gain a 46% stake in the company. As a result, Microsoft 365, the cloud-powered productivity platform, now has this tool built in.
In February, Open AI introduced GPT-4 technology in the form of its ChatGPT Plus version, meaning users can select the technology they want to use while they have a conversation with ChatGPT. GPT-4 can generate outputs with more than 25,000 words and is well-trained in almost 26 languages but lacks knowledge of everything that occurred after September 2021. ChatGPT is currently free while in the research stage unless users sign up for Plus.
In March, Google opened access to its new AI chatbot tool, Bard, that directly competes with ChatGPT. And Snapchat has rolled My AI, a chatbot available to all its users and taps ChatGPT technology.
Mitchem also mentioned voice assistants, which are AI-powered tools that enable users to automate tasks and access information quickly, as well as machine learning AI that enables computers to learn from data and automate tasks without explicit programming.
How to Prepare Your Team
Businesses should make embracing and leveraging AI a priority. It’s all about finding a passionate person on your team who is not afraid of technology and will live and learn AI, he suggests. Then look for where AI can be implemented to improve efficiency and productivity and practice using the tools. For example, ChatGPT can be used to write basic copy and generate new ideas.
Other interesting AI products mentioned include Beautiful.ai, a subscription-based service that helps create presentations using slide and proposal templates. Also, the Wonder app that turns words into digital artwork by entering a prompt and selecting an art style. We will see all sorts of industries leveraging AI.
“What do we do well and what could we do better if we had five more people doing it for us? Writing, blogging, social posts, etc. … find the tools and opportunities,” Mitchem proposes. “It’s how we leverage the tools that matters, with implementing a solution being the most difficult step.”
How can integrating AI happen without losing humanity? People won’t necessarily know if a response is from a real person online, so making the most of in-person meetings is vital. “You can see how much people want to be together again,” he says. “Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said every meeting should run like an event, so you are connecting with each other.”
Mitchem walked the Destination Colorado Meetings attendees through various scenarios.
- You are an entertainment company that wants to rent a new LED dance floor. Tell ChatGPT your business name, market, and desire to build a marketing plan. Also ask for two Facebook posts and a Twitter that can be used to market the floor with relevant hashtags.
- Or ask ChatGPT to write a 2,500-word blog about your destination management company that focuses on Colorado experiences. You can tell it to think like a famous person or to make it funny. Photos cannot be incorporated yet, but Canva has an AI feature to generate images.
- A team-building company could ask for assistance developing a program with a jungle theme that includes three activities.
Usage & Ethical Considerations
Discussions about AI ethics and usage in the workplace are certainly underway. Some companies don’t want employees to access AI on their computers and try to block. However, in April 2023, 70% of corporate workers in the U.S. say they use GBT on a weekly basis.
Yet, stock photo companies are suing Wonder and other companies providing AI tools that are pulling and using images from the internet. For example, Getty Images is challenging Stability AI, creators of the popular AI art tool Stable Diffusion, over alleged copyright violation.
“Ethics is the foundation of AI use, and it must be embraced and leveraged for a successful future,” Mitchem emphasizes.
And use of AI is zooming ahead, with Mitchem providing several examples of embracing and leveraging AI. There is already a book cowritten by ChatGPT, and job applicants are using GPT to rewrite their resumes based on a specific job description. Telling GBT to act as the top contract attorney in Colorado can result in writing a letter and contract for meeting planning services. Or copy and paste a Word doc that features customer feedback and ask GBT to analyze what your business is missing regarding customer needs.
“However, don’t put proprietary information into GPT. It is not inside your server, it is outside,” Mitchem cautions.
Strengthening Human Connections
In the growing age of AI, it is crucial to focus on developing and nurturing human skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving. Prioritizing face-to-face time also is essential for maintaining and strengthening human connections, which for businesses and groups might include in-person meetings, social gatherings, and team-building activities.
Mitchem also recommends cultivating empathy and emotional intelligence in the era of AI. Practice active listening, engage in open and honest conversations, and participate in group activities that encourage teamwork and mutual understanding. “This is the thing robotics and technology can fake, but they don’t do it well,” he confirms.
A Deeper Dive
For those wanting to know more, Mitchem offers speaking and consulting services aimed at helping individuals and organizations navigate the rapidly changing landscape of AI and the workplace. He also provides a multitude of resources on his YouTube channel and website, ranging from detailed videos on how to effectively use AI tools such as ChatGPT to articles exploring the ethics and usage of AI in the workplace.
AI is like “the industrial revolution as a baby, traveling at light speed with its hair on fire,” Mitchem says. “AI is happening so fast and is so far ahead of us already. Try to learn as much of this as you can so you are prepared.”
Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 18 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and is on the team introducing Southwest Meetings + Events this summer. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.