The Pros and Cons of using AI in your business

Undoubtedly, you have heard about AI and specifically the impact that it is having on business. In today’s episode, I dive into some of the pros and cons of using AI in your business.

Shownotes:

  • What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? And how it differs from traditional computing?
  • What does the AI future look like for small business owners?
  • The pros of AI for small business owners
  • The cons of AI for small business owners

Transcript

* Transcript created by AI – may contain errors or omissions from original podcast audio

 Undoubtedly, you have heard about AI and specifically the impact that it is having on business. In today’s episode of the podcast, I want to dive into some of the pros and cons of using AI in your business. This episode is going to be a good one. Make sure you stick around.

 As I shared in the intro, AI is a really hot topic in small business land. And I don’t know about you, but it is blowing my mind how quickly I’m seeing evolution in this space. Machines that are interacting with humans, People using it in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. And I wanted to explore in today’s episode a little bit more about how it may impact you and some of the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating AI into your business strategy.

Now, if artificial intelligence is something that’s of interest to you, make sure you keep an eye on my socials on my email list, and of course on this podcast, because I’m going to be launching a training coming up very soon about this exact topic. And I’m going to be going deep in the training into how you can actually practically use some of these tools that we are going to be talking about. So make sure you keep your eyes posted on my socials on my email list so that you get notified when that workshop gets announced.

Now let’s get started on talking about the pros and cons of machine led learning.

So first and foremost, what exactly is AI? So AI is artificial intelligence or machine learning and how is AI different to us using computers, which undoubtedly everyone is using in some way, shape, or form these days.

So typical computers, the traditional computing that we are aware of works off algorithms and programming to perform specific tasks. So the way that our traditional computers work is that we give the computer predetermined instructions.

Now, this is distinct from AI because the way that AI is set up is that it is designed to mimic human intelligence. It’s designed to start to think like humans. And for example, let’s just say that in traditional computing, you gave a command to a computer. It just does what you tell it. What AI does is it starts to learn, okay, that worked, that didn’t work. It’s able to analyze data and make decisions like a human brain would.

So the way that AI works is that it learns and adapts to make decisions on data without you giving it specific instructions. And as I said earlier, it’s actually designed to get smarter over time.

So let’s dive in and have a bit of a think about an example of what this might look like. Let’s say that you are using a content creation prompt, such as chat GPT. When you first use it, you might ask a question and it will just spit out a response. But what happens and, and anyone who’s regular using, ideas platform, such as chat GPT will know that you’ll ask a question. Like, for example, I might say, write me a social media caption about AI and as you can see, I’ve given pretty vague instructions, and so it will just spit out a response. It might be two lines. It might be very general, very high level. And then what I do is I go back and say, can you please make this 400 words, put it into bullet points and focus specifically on how AI will affect small business owners.

Now, what chat GPT will do with those kinds of questions that I ask is it says, Oh, Clare is asking for the information to be longer or to be presented in this kind of way. And if for example, I keep saying, can you please present it in bullet point form? What chat GPT in theory should do is it should start to say, okay, Clare keeps asking for the data this way. That’s how she wants it. A bit like our, our, how our human brain would work, right? So if your boss continually says to you, Hey, can you please send me that in bullet point form, when they say it enough times, you start to go. Maybe I should send my boss things in bullet point form. And this is what AI is going to do. It’s going to say, Hey, I keep getting asked for information this way, or I keep getting asked for longer form content. I keep getting asked for more detail. And so what it’s doing is it’s learning and evolving rather than traditional computing, which, as I said earlier, is just going to continually spit out the same information unless we went in and said, Hey, computer from now on, please give Clare everything in bullet point form. That is a specific instruction that we’re giving a computer, whereas AI is looking at the data and saying, hang on, she keeps asking for it. They say, maybe this is how she wants to receive it from now on. So it is learning and adapting.

So that is the, that is essentially what AI is. It’s computer programs that are programmed to get smarter. And not just give you the specific thing that you ask for.

So what does this mean for the future of us as small business owners? I found this fantastic article on Forbes. I’m actually going to link to it in the show notes for today’s episode. So if you want to go and read a little bit more, it’s got a ton of amazing stats around AI. Um, they did a survey of business owners. So go and check out that if you want a bit more detail, but I’ll share with you some of my favorite stats in this episode.

So according to this article on Forbes, 97 percent of business owners have identified at least one aspect of AI they believe will have a positive impact on their operations.

So overwhelmingly what people who completed this survey is saying is they can see how this will help them in terms of their small business. So maybe you’re sitting on the fence about this whole thing. I have to admit when you think too much about it, it can be a little creepy.

So let’s chat about some of the pros and cons of artificial intelligence.

The first and most obvious benefit is computers can do things faster and arguably better than humans can. I think about the good old days of, you know, doing maths calculations in my head. And then I look at what I can do in an Excel spreadsheet, a computer. As much as I think that I’ve got a beautiful brain, it pales in comparison to the speed and accuracy with which a computer can do things, can do tasks. It’s the same with things that we are running through AI platforms faster, you can go and ask it to write you 2000 words on a topic and it will spit it out in a matter of seconds. And because of the capability of computers. I would argue that in some respects, anyway, the information or the data that you’re going to be able to harvest is going to be better.

Another pro as a small business owner is the potential for us to improve customer service. So at the moment, if you want to, um, ask a question of me, there’s a couple of ways that you can do it. You can go to my website, send me an email, you could go to my social media, send me a DM and depending on my bandwidth and my assistant’s bandwidth, it might take us some time to get back to you, whereas with tools, like, for example, uh, the tool, many chat, I can set up an automation in my Instagram DMs that if you send me a message and say, Hey, Clare, I’d love to do a VIP date with you, many chat, can have an automation that says you mentioned VIP day, here’s the information that you need to know about doing a VIP day with Clare. So rather than you have to wait for me or my assistant to come back to you, you can get an answer, instantly, you can get the information that you need.

Similarly, I’m sure you’ve had the experience where you are online shopping and a little chat bot pops up and it says, hi, I see you’re looking at a blue dress. Is there any way that I can help you. Now, I’m willing to bet that these days, nine out of 10 times, that ain’t a person sitting there typing that out, that’s a computer and what the computer is doing is it again, using the information that it’s getting on mass and being able to provide answers to you instantaneously. So say I say, ask a question of the chatbot, do you have this in a size small? It can then go run through its systems and say, unfortunately we don’t have it available. However, we do have it available in a red, in a small. What this means is an improved customer service experience.

Similarly, if you’ve got automations or things set up across any of your customer service experiences, I know for me down the track, I want to get to a place where if people want to ask questions inside one of my courses. There’s obviously commonly asked questions that people ask me, and I’ll be able to have an automation that people can ask the question and get sent the response automatically. That is a much improved outcome for my students or my clients. So you can see the huge potential in this space.

Another pro, computers are able to rapidly translate data. And an example of this, have you ever gone onto a website that is in a foreign language? I know that I have, and it’s incredibly frustrating when you don’t speak that language and yes, you know, you can go and pick up bits of information and go plug it in a different tool, but imagine how cool it will be when that functionality is an automation where you can go click a drop down and an entire website is translated into a different language. Can you see the massive potential this has in terms of globalization? Similarly, you know, in terms of translating data in other areas, aI is going , be able to do that so, so, so much quicker than humans are.

Another pro of AI is that it eliminates human error. I know that I’ve made some doozies over time. For example, I was emailing a bunch of people about, I believe it was about a workshop that I was hosting. And so what I was doing was forwarding the old email on and then removing someone’s name and then adding the new name in. I was doing this again and again and again and I accidentally sent to someone the email that I forwarded on with the incorrect name in there. Now, I don’t know exactly the stats around what computers error rates are, but I’m willing to guess that if I’d given a prompt to a program and said, Hey, go and send this email to these names. I bet you that that kind of stuff would very, very rarely happen.

Computers have a much higher accuracy rate than humans do.

Another pro, and this kind of relates back to that improved customer service that I mentioned about is that computers are available 24/7. I don’t know about you, but I need to sleep. I don’t get a terrible lot of sleep, but I definitely do need to sleep. Whereas computers can be online all the time. And again, an advantage of this, if you’ve got a shop front, if you sell either a digital product or a physical product, someone can be buying from you at 3am in the morning, local time for you. Ask a question of your chatbot and get a response back immediately. Massive opportunity there, that you know, computers are available all day, every day.

Another advantage of AI is that computers can make unbiased decisions. So all of us, whether we like it or not, have bias based on our experiences in life. We can look at data and we are still going to put our own interpretation or bias on what we see.

Let me share an example. When I am analyzing data and someone says, you know, your, your coaching cost is too high. That might be something that, you know, the, the raw data might say, and I can overlay my own experience and say, yeah, but in the past, when I’ve invested to work with mentors, it’s actually really helped me to grow my business. Maybe a computer program can’t have that insight or, or, or that experience that I’ve had. It’s just unbiasedly looking at data. Now, obviously that’s got cons to it as well, because it can’t overlay that human intelligence, but in other respects, it does make you kind of just look at the facts. You know, don’t try and overlay your own interpretation on top the facts, say, whatever it might be. That’s one of the benefits of AI.

Another one is cost reduction. I did an earlier episode about AI as well, and how you can use AI to boost your profit. So I’m going to link to that episode of the podcast as well in the show notes for today, so you can go and have a listen to that one. And one of the benefits that I spoke about is cost reduction, about how you can actually cut costs in your business by doing things more efficiently. And I shared some examples of what that can look like.

So those are some of the pros and I’m sure there’s many more as well. So as you can see, there’s lots of benefits, not only for you as a business but also for your clients, for your customers.

So what are some of the cons? What are some of the downsides of artificial intelligence?

Well, one of them obviously is a fear around people being concerned around Job losses, in that survey, I mentioned earlier, the Forbes one, one third of small business owner are concerned about the effect that this is going to have on jobs within their team. And if we take that, the business owner section, if you look at the results that they had from the wider general public, this survey actually said that this is amplified with 77 percent of the wider public being concerned that it’s going to lead to job losses. That’s a huge percentage of people who are worried about the impact that this is going to have on the workforce.

Another thing that small business owners are concerned about is the visibility that their business is going to have on search engines. So if you’ve invested a lot of time into, making sure that your business is featured on Google, on Pinterest, on whatever search platform you are using. If people are becoming less and less reliant on Google because they are going to platforms like AI, going to chat GPT and asking the questions instead, what happens is they’re getting their data from that source rather than from Google. And remember, when we Google something, we’re going to get results.

So let me, let me share an example. I mentioned that podcast episode that I recorded about the impact, how you can use AI to improve your profit. So if someone went and Googled that phrase, and let’s just say that my podcast episode popped up, they would be able to link over to my website over to that podcast episode. Whereas if someone goes into chat GPT and ask the question, they’re going to get the AI generated responses and not get the link across to my website. So this is why some business owners are concerned, they’re saying, hang on, people are going to be searching inside these tools and not in traditional platforms where we have the ability for us to be thought leaders instead the machines being thought leader.That’s where people are getting their information from.

Another couple of things that are worrying small business owners in this space, some people are becoming concerned about their dependence on technology. In fact, in that Forbes article, 40 percent of small business owners said they are concerned about their dependence on technology. And I will say this is something as a small business owner, I worry about a lot. When I travel with work, there are two things, aside from obviously my family, that I care about the most, and that is my phone and my laptop. And the reason for that is that these are my tools that enable me to work. They enable me to work from anywhere. I no longer rely on a filing system to help me run my business. In fact, I have run a completely paperless office for, I believe, like five or six years now. Everything related to my business is online. It’s on my website. It’s on my social media. Even all my invoices. I don’t manually see them. They’re all scanned inside my accounting program. And a lot of business owners are kind of scared. Like our future, the entire intellectual property of our business is online. And not, you know, in paper form anymore.

Another couple of things that are concerns around using AI is a lack of emotion. So let me pick an example. Let’s say that AI was working in the space of, getting optimal outcomes from our healthcare system. If they were analyzing the data, they might say, do you know what? It doesn’t make sense for us financially to, Save children with cancer because they cost a lot of money. And so there’s no kind of emotional factor that can come into their decision making process. They’re just looking at the data and spitting out. It doesn’t make sense for us to save kids with cancer anymore. We are much better to put that money into whatever it might be. See how there’s sometimes with decision making we need to have that emotional component that comes into play as well.

Another factor that’s kind of related is that sometimes data has errors if it doesn’t have human cognition, at least initially overlaying it to interpret. And let me share an example of this. I remember at the time of COVID and they were reporting COVID deaths and someone came out at the time and said, Well, hang on a lot of these deaths that are being recorded as COVID deaths they had a comorbidity. They actually had something else. So for example, sorry to use the cancer example again, but you know, this person had advanced cancer and got COVID. So, while we’re classifying it as a COVID death, they were actually quite unwell already before. And so there’s that kind of human interpretation over data that needs to be incorporated in.

There is, of course, another big, big, big con of AI. And truthfully, this is probably the one that freaks me out the most is is ethical concerns around computers, being able to emulate and impersonate people. As it is, I have a lot of grubs who try and steal my content, my images to fraudulently gain money out of people online. I’m sure if you’re visible in an online platform, you would have experienced the same, people setting up profiles, pretending to be you and going and trying to scam money off people. Now, when we overlay AI and people being able to create, sound bites of your voice, videos of you, it is terrifying. And when you think about that on a global scale with things like politicians being able to be copied, influencers being able to be copied, it’s really scary.

Another couple of concerns that people have, one is how much can we trust computers? And let me share an example of this. So I have a Tesla, recently got it and, yeah, I really like my Tesla, but one of the things that I’ve noticed is that when I put it into auto drive, and yes, if you didn’t know this, a Tesla can completely drive itself, I’m talking breaking, accelerating, changing lanes. If you put that mode on, it can actually drive itself. And one day I did have that mode on. I was on the freeway going along and then all of a sudden the car slammed on its brakes. Not slammed, but you know, rapidly was slowing down and I was, Whoa, what are you doing? We’re just, everything’s fine. There was a car parked on the side of the road. Now my human brain could see they were stopped. They didn’t have their lights on. They were not ready to take off. But my car, because of the angle that that car on the side of the road was parked, it’s like, Whoa, we’re about to crash into a car or that car’s about to pull out.

So there is also this factor around how much we can actually trust computers and their ability to make decisions, because there’s always going to be that decision, is a human making a better decision than a computer.

And the last thing that I want to share is a big, this is another huge concern of mine and I know on a macro scale that people are really worried about is that if we’ve taught machines to get smarter and smarter, are they going to get smarter than us? And what exactly does that mean for us as business owners? And even as a human race.

Now, whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence is here and it’s not going anywhere. So the biggest thing that we can do is educate ourselves and empower ourselves with as much knowledge as possible, and to focus in on some of the advantages of having this functionality around and think about how a small businessman is, we can be utilizing this.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, I think it’s valuable, I’d be incredibly grateful if you could share it with your audience or some biz friends of yours that you think could Benefit from learning more about AI. And as I mentioned, I’m going to be hosting a workshop around this topic very soon, so please listen out on the podcast, keeping on my socials, because I’m really excited to be going deeper and showing you some of the practical applications of AI and how it can benefit you as a small business owner.

Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode of the podcast. I look forward to chatting to you again next week.

* Transcript created by AI – may contain errors or omissions from original podcast audio

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