Banks are rightly wary of nascent artificial intelligence technology. Across the rest of the corporate world, however, executives are tripping over themselves to prove their exposure.
Commercial use of AI will supposedly drive efficiencies, improve data analysis and eliminate underperforming staff from the workplace. San Francisco start-up OpenAI has attempted to bring that future closer by introducing tools that let businesses integrate its AI-powered chatbot. Grocery delivery company Instacart plans to create a search engine that answers user food queries. Social media company Snap has launched a chatbot for users who pay a $4-per-month subscription.
Since OpenAI released ChatGPT in late November, companies in every sector have been forced to consider their own AI plans. Data from Sentieo compiled by the FT shows that mentions of AI in investor calls across 9,000 global companies reached a new high in February as they released earnings for the final three months of 2022.
Tech companies are at particular pains to prove their research and development teams have not been left behind. In a call with investors last month, PayPal said it was deploying AI capabilities in its checkout service. This week, Samsara, an internet of things company, said its AI models could analyse driver behaviours and road conditions in real time to show the leading causes of preventable accidents.
Other connections seem more speculative. Fast-food chain Wendy’s told investors it was testing “vision AI” to improve orders. Radio and podcasting company iHeartMedia claimed to be an early adopter of AI, which it said it used to enhance music programming.
In their rush to show off AI capabilities, companies open themselves up to possible inaccuracies. ChatGPT’s creators admit that it can be misleading in its impression of precision. The chatbot has a habit of giving incorrect answers. Businesses may want to use the tech for attention but AI is an experiment, not a replacement for core business functions.