Fresh out of the University of Texas at Austin, Rachel Woods moved to San Francisco to pursue her dream job of data scientist at Meta in 2018. But with the idea to start a “Shopify for independent winemakers,” Woods departed the social giant in July 2020, and raised about $3.8 million by April 2021. She hired 12 people and attracted 80 winery customers, and the company was ultimately acquired by Vinebase in October 2022 for an undisclosed sum (she’s “happy” about the price).
Riding the acquisition and with Meta chops, Woods could have landed her pick of cushy tech jobs. Instead, she’s started a consultancy to help businesses incorporate OpenAI’s ChatGPT into their operations. To spread the word, she’s giving free advice on TikTok about A.I. detection, data privacy, and ChatGPT for content marketing, attracting over 2 million views and 27,000 followers since she started tailoring her account to ChatGPT.
“I think that this is really comparable to the internet coming online, or at least the scale of mobile devices coming online,” says Woods. “I one thousand percent think that especially young people should be learning this technology, and spending their weekends testing out different business ideas. It’s never been easier to build something new.”
She’s not alone. Interest in so-called Generative AI technology is booming as slick new tools like ChatGPT and Jasper—a rival product—inspire awe and excitement, as well as fear, among the public. The technology’s ability to produce everything from a college essay to a movie script in seconds has enormous implications for business.
But while many corporations are still cautiously assessing the novel technology, a growing cadre of young professionals are embracing ChatGPT’s business benefits and gaining online fame by sharing their tips and tricks with a hungry audience. On TikTok, #ChatGPT has over 446 million views. Alongside the social media app’s usual fare of trending dance moves and memes, videos demonstrating how the A.I. tech can be used to level up at work, win jobs and start companies, have garnered hundreds of thousands of likes.
22-year-old Russell Dinsmore has gone viral on TikTok by showing viewers how to use ChatGPT to tailor their résumés to their desired job posting. “A lot of people don’t realize how much information is in a job posting. This new technology really highlights that,” he says.
Dinsmore uses ChatGPT at least three times per day at work to assist his duties as a junior accountant at NYU Langone Health. He’s also taught his father, who started a company with only a high school degree, to employ ChatGPT in email writing as his parents struggle with basic language skills—to “amazing” results. “Their struggles aren’t struggles anymore,” says Dinsmore.
It’s quite impressive considering the product has been public for little more than a month. ChatGPT is one of the flagship products from OpenAI, an artificial intelligence and research company that aims to “benefit all of humanity.” The company, which is reportedly valued at $20 billion, is cofounded by Y Combinator’s Sam Altman and Elon Musk with backers in Microsoft, Reid Hoffman’s charitable foundation, and Khosla Ventures. The company’s bona fides match its adoption; ChatGPT gained over 1 million users in its first week after launching. Currently ChatGPT has no revenue-generating component, though insiders told Reuters the company expects $1 billion in revenue by 2024. OpenAI did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
As magical as generative A.I. technology like ChatGPT appears, it still has many limitations. For one thing, the A.I. is only as good as the data it’s been trained on. In ChatGPT’s case, that’s a massive corpus consisting of more than 300 billion “tokens,” a term that refers to words, characters, and subwords. But that still leaves a lot of holes, particularly when it comes to any information more recent than early 2022, when ChatGPT was trained.
And even when ChatGPT has its facts wrong, the product it churns out looks polished and authoritative, presenting a real risk that unchecked use of the technology could spread misinformation.
Woods says the technology should be used as a complement to human labor rather than a replacement. “You still need to be able to evaluate the quality of the result,” she says. And Dinsmore says though he has discussed ChatGPT with colleagues, NYU Langone has no official policy. He says he manages to avoid errors by writing detailed queries and checking answers against other generative A.I. products.
Naturally, the prospect of rogue employees using ChatGPT at work without the boss’s approval is a frightening one. There are issues of inaccurate and biased content that can lead to financial, reputation, or legal harm, according to Bern Elliot, a VP and analyst at Gartner. “It is something to be concerned about for sure,” says Elliot. “People for whom these tools become a crutch will eventually find themselves without that crutch, and have to do something else.”
At ZoomInfo, a 3,000-person B2B database company, Chad Herring, the chief human resources officer, has been experimenting with ChatGPT since its release at the end of November. He thinks it’s a “great product” with “a lot of use cases.” Right now he’s using the technology to automate administrative tasks like writing letters to declare promotions and compensation changes. “It’s a complement to a lot of workers in terms of what they do today. Frankly, we’ll automate or semiautomate tasks that really have no value,” says Herring. “I think it will save employees and companies a lot of time.”
Still, Herring cautions workers, especially young ones, to be “careful” with ChatGPT. He warns against overreliance, advising job seekers to make sure they do the respective job better than ChatGPT before applying. “Eventually they’re going to ask it to do things it’s simply not learned how to do yet,” says Herring of power users.
For some ChatGPT influencers, the target audience isn’t rank-and-file workers at a corporate behemoth, but entrepreneurs looking to move fast and to gain an edge by trying something new.
Justin Fineburg has gotten over 682,000 views on a TikTok video where he explains how to “make millions of dollars” building ChatGPT-enabled content marketing company. He suggests that enterprising viewers find a “hyperpersonalized niche”—like yoga studios or law firms—and offer them “ridiculously cheap” writing services, unwittingly enabled by ChatGPT.
The key, he says, is to find uses for ChatGPT that others have overlooked. “Sooner or later the low-hanging fruit gets picked,” says the 24-year-old Fineburg. “The obvious solutions that use A.I. will get picked.”
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