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ChatGPT: Almost 30% of professionals say they've used the AI tool at work

Drafting emails and generating pieces of code are some of the most popular uses among white-collar workers, as OpenAI's ChatGPT continues to dazzle users

The OpenAI website ChatGPT about page on a laptop computer arranged in the Brooklyn borough of New York, US, on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. (Bloomberg)

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Some early adopters are already experimenting with the generative AI program ChatGPT at the office. In seconds, consultants are conjuring decks and memos, marketers are cranking out fresh copy and software engineers are debugging code.

Almost 30% of the nearly 4,500 professionals surveyed this month by Fishbowl, a social platform owned by employer review site Glassdoor, said that they’ve already used OpenAI’s ChatGPT or another artificial intelligence program in their work. Respondents include employees at Amazon, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Google, Twitter and Meta. The chatbot uses generative AI to spit out human-like responses to prompts in seconds, but because it’s been trained on information publicly available from the internet, books and Wikipedia, the answers aren’t always accurate. 

While ChatGPT set certain corners of the internet ablaze when it launched for public use in November, awareness is still filtering out to the broader public. Experts anticipate that this kind of AI will be transformative: ChatGPT will become the “calculator for writing,” says one top Stanford University economist. Microsoft is in talks with OpenAI about investing as much as $10 billion. The software giant is also looking to integrate GPT, the language model that underlies ChatGPT, into its widely-used Teams and Office software. If that happens, AI tech may very well be brought into the mainstream.

Marketing professionals have been particularly keen to test-drive the tool: 37% said they’ve used AI at work. Tech workers weren’t far behind, at 35%. Consultants followed with 30%. Many are using the technology to draft emails, generate ideas, write and troubleshoot bits of code and summarize research or meeting notes.  

CEOs are using ChatGPT to brainstorm and compose their emails, too. “Anybody who doesn’t use this will shortly be at a severe disadvantage. Like, shortly. Like, very soon,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, chief executive of online learning platform Coursera told CNN. “I’m just thinking about my cognitive ability with this tool. Versus before, it’s a lot higher, and my efficiency and productivity is way higher.”

The speed and versatility of the tool has dazzled many users. “I discovered ChatGPT about a month ago,” one person who identified themselves as a chief executive officer posted on FishBowl. “I use it every day. It has changed my life. And my staffing plan for 2023.”

Read More: Is ChatGPT an Eloquent Robot or a Misinformation Machine?Some are even leaning on it as a crutch: One newly hired product manager at a fintech firm asked for advice on FishBowl, saying they were “100% lost” in their new role. “Fake it till you make it like you did the interview. When in doubt, ask ChatGPT,” came the reply.

Amid the excitement, researchers have sounded notes of caution.

While much of the anxiety has concentrated on what ChatGPT means in education — New York City public schools have banned its use — experts say companies need to think through their policies for the new tool sooner rather than later. If they don’t, they risk some of the pitfalls ChatGPT and other AI models can introduce, like factual errors, copyright infringement and leaks of sensitive company information.

The tech is here to stay, though, and will likely become ever-more pervasive. Many AI-assisted programs already exist, and with OpenAI set to release the API, or application programming interface, the number of specialized applications built on the tool will multiply.

While some professionals aren’t sold on the practicality of the use cases or quality of the output, others are convinced workers are only a few years away from being supplanted by the technology. “If ChatGPT starts making slides, I am done for,” one Deloitte employee wrote. (“Sorry bro… Already exists,” two others wrote back.)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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