AI-generated content has ruffled many feathers lately. Some say its very foundations are immoral, while others insist it is the way of the future. Regardless of what either side says, the bottom line is many companies are adding it to their workflows.
When should you consider adding generative AI to your operations? Here is what small-business owners should know about using material artificial intelligence creates.
The most significant advantage of artificial intelligence is speed. Experts say chatbots halve customer response times, ensure they get up-to-date information and allow queries around the clock. Humans simply cannot match such a pace, but instead of replacement, they receive more time to focus on operation-critical tasks. This form of information generation also enables greater personalization, allowing employees to analyze consumers’ purchase history and online activity to customize recommendations.
AI’s quickness is also unreachable when it comes to creating content. Imagine writing 500 words of copy or making a YouTube thumbnail in seconds. How much time would you free up for urgent business needs? You can even prompt the software to use your brand’s tone so any resulting text sounds more like you. Such a feature is a massive asset if you notice your buyers distrust AI and are wary of robotic-sounding correspondence.
Those speedy turnarounds create a much larger profit margin. If your small business is more of a side hustle, many other entrepreneurs have discovered how generative AI can make them more money faster. Research from McKinsey & Co. states the technology could increase the worldwide economy by $4.4 trillion. While merely using AI does not guarantee wealth, its assistance makes the path easier.
The most prominent indicator that a small business is ready to use AI is when it can cover the costs of the service. These models can be expensive, depending on the company’s platform and how often it utilizes it.
There is also the option of programming your own platform to avoid monthly or annual subscription costs. However, you will need to use company funds to create the software, spend months training it and cover hosting fees. Regardless of how you start using it, AI tends to have a decent price. Startups that cannot comfortably absorb those expenses should wait until they sound more reasonable.
After determining if the cost is feasible, consider what you would automate should you invest. Is AI-generated content a big drawing point, saving you from drafting emails? Do you need more staff to answer customer questions and could benefit from a chatbot? Does your team need a graphic designer or photographer for thumbnails and promotional images? How much would you realistically save with automation? AI might be a worthwhile addition to your enterprise if it would free up a lot of time.
A lack of workers is a common reason for using artificial intelligence. Industries like shipping and manufacturing are seeing massive employee deficits, and researchers predict 85 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030. Are you not getting as many applicants as you need? When your venture is expanding faster than you can hire help, AI can fill the gaps so you maintain productivity.
AI-generated content certainly has its positives, but there are also aspects small businesses should note to avoid landing in hot water. The first of these matters is legality. While a recent court case only moved forward with one infringement claim, you might not know if your platform was trained using unethical practices. Additionally, you should not ask an AI to write or create art like someone not employed by you.
Artists have expressed displeasure with organizations trying to generate material based on their work. How would you feel if someone learned all your trade secrets, then joined another enterprise and made millions off your years of practice? The most straightforward way to prevent such matters is to hire talent directly. However, if the hiring pool is scarce and AI is the best choice, respond promptly to any grievances stating your content closely resembles theirs, opening an internal investigation if necessary.
Another crucial point is whether the company that owns the model uses the prompts people enter. ChatGPT’s free version states in its terms of services that queries entered into the software would be used to train it. Additionally, one expert said the risk of information you input appearing in another generated response is “really concerning.” Before relying on the free version of AI, be sure it will not open you up to competitive or security risks.
Artificial intelligence and the material it can create have heavily dominated recent discussions on profitability and productivity. While you do not need to add it to your operations, it can offer many speed-based benefits. It is a good time to consider using AI-generated content when you can afford it and find use cases where it could assist, such as making workflows more efficient or filling unfilled positions. However, there are legality and security matters that need addressing.
Taking things slow offers you your best chance at success. Rather than automating everything you want to all at once, use it in one area so you can smooth out errors, find best-use practices and adjust to new legislation. The savings will likely be minor initially, but wait to see how they stack up over time. Generative AI could be the best decision you can make for your small business.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.