Don’t Just Read about AI, Use AI

I’ve done a pretty good job reading up on AI.

I know, for example, what The Atlantic and The New York Times think about the future of the college essay.

And I played around some with ChatGPT. Most memorable was the essay my son had it write. The output was an 80% approximation of the college essay he’d written last year, terrifyingly similar in structure and tone. I also tried to get it to write a post for this blog. The results were watered-down and uninteresting.

I also made sure to talk to my team members about how they were using it to save massive amounts of time coding qualitative responses to questions—at 60 Decibels, we speak to hundreds of thousands of people each year, and turning their open-ended qualitative responses into quantitative data is a core part of our business model.

But I hadn’t used it to solve any meaningful business problem that I, directly was working on.

Until last week when a team member described a thing she had done, and I decided to do it too.

She kindly outlined the steps and did a short Loom video to explain it.

Then I mucked around some, adjusted what she did, and worked with the output ChatGPT gave me.

The gap between what I thought the tool could do and what it actually does (and does not do) was pretty big. And I’ve just used it once—I’m positive I’m just at the beginning.

If you’re like me—if you haven’t done any real work using ChatGPT or another LMM tool—I’d encourage you to take that next step: find something real that you need to get done, and figure out / have someone help you figure out how to do it.

You’ll learn a lot, and you’ll also start noticing more and more situations where AI might be helpful to you.

Until now, I thought of this as a tool that was out there.


And I wasn’t actively thinking about how I could use it when a new task came along.


That’s a recipe for falling behind if there ever was one.

One thought on “Don’t Just Read about AI, Use AI

  1. This post is timely Sasha as A.I. is currently in just about every social and business conversation. I agree with you and those who are curious should give it a serious try. They just might be surprised with the results.

    A friend recently fed ChatGPT some extensive data and asked for a summary and what it returned was concise and well done. I’ve kicked the tires quite a few times starting with the first public version and up to current and it is certainly making progress. A fun exercise was when I asked ChatGPT to write a screenplay on the idea that Jimmy Fallon runs for President in 2024. Iteration #2 and #3 where I resubmitted the question asking for substantially more information were much more detailed and frankly quite entertaining.

    Where the power lives in artificial intelligence is in the ability to manage tremendous quantities of data in a fraction of the time it once did and then rinse and repeat.

    Imagine an EV battery company adding a fraction of charging efficiency to their product using A.I. over and over again. This is powerful, so much that I believe in less than 10 years, one will be able to drive from NYC to LA on a single charge. Not only could batteries be made more efficient using A.I. they could certainly get substantially smaller along with less expensive. At that point, an EV will have tremendous value to consumers as the cost of energy will be essentially $0.

    The possibilities with A.I. are endless so we need to focus on the positive aspects of this technology and not the negatives. Certainly we need common sense regulations as guardrails but worrying about kids cheating on essays vs saving the planet is completing missing the plot.

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