AI and my small businesses

By Jim Teece

AI has been around for decades but openAI unleashed ChatGPT last year to the surprise of many and it has awaken everyone as to the power of the large language model and AI that can create. 

I have been asked several times to speak about, write about, discuss the power of AI and how we can use it in everyday small business life. 

After studying everything I could on the subject here is what I want to share. 

One: The tools change every day. It’s a fast moving target. Just when I learn about one tool another is released and I’m forced to learn another. 

Two: Wait. 

Wait because all the software, LLMs and OpenAI ChaptGPT driven heavily invested unicorns are leap frogging at an alarming rate while the big 3, Google, Microsoft and Apple bring it all into our everyday lives. 

In just a few weeks or months or it’s already done, AI is being wrapped into word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and online chat at such a speed that soon everyone of us will use AI everyday in everything we do and we don’t have to worry about it. 

Today you can use Microsoft’s rebranded AI system Copilot (formally known as Cortana – a Xbox Halo reference) and do things such as ask for spreadsheet templates that fulfill the needs for many small business analysis exercises. You can ask for word processing templates that are boiler plates of legal documents, you can allow the LLM to search within your organizations walled garden(they swear they wont open access to the outside world)  for the answers and data will be pulled from your own system, databases, spreadsheets, documents and chats. 

Google has similar tools available in the beta program. Hold that, it just launched. Gemini Enterprise, formerly Duet AI for Workspace. Gemini Business add-on is priced as low as $20 per user per month, with an annual commitment. Gemini is the AI-powered assistant from Google, built right into Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and more, with enterprise-grade security and privacy.

Apple is franticly rewriting AI into all of the walled garden in IOS systems. The next iPhone is reportedly being remarketed as an AI companion. 

Chat GPT just announced that you can now make 1 minute videos with a text prompt and the results are stunning. 

We simply will be using AI in everything we do, every day, all the time. 

Quickbooks will get into it. Online banking will. Netflix, Hulu and YouTube TV will too. 

The only thing that might take time will be the custom CRM your industry uses for your vertical but I bet that they too are racing to implement AI into everything there as well. 

It’s too compelling not to and it increases their valuations in the stock market. All they have to do is say they are integrating AI into their solution. 

Many CRMs and ERPs are built on platforms such as salesforce and those too are getting AI injections into their core. 

The real challenge is going to be compliance and control. An airline recently was told that it had to honor a refund that was against policy but AI said it could handle because the person requesting it manipulated the AI using prompts to drive to the solution the human wanted. 

Mistakes fill documents that AI creates. Sometimes outright lies. 

That being said, We used ChaptGPT to help answer a legal question on merging two of our companies and it gave us ten things to followup on and discuss with attorneys. That was very helpful but it might have also cost us money as some of the things we were asked to talk with an attorney about were not relevant. 

If you are looking for a step by step guide on how to best use AI in your small business, this isn’t it. Unless step one, step away from the computer and read a book until the software you use is upgraded is the answer you are looking for.

When Covid happened, I taught myself 3D printing. It doesn’t help me run any of my businesses, but I was fascinated by it and had the time to teach myself how to create something from a 3D design that I also taught myself to create. 

If you are looking for more on learning about AI there are a million resources. Here is one.

If you want to see what Microsoft has to offer today look here and here

If you want to see what Google has to offer for Google Workspace, look here and here

If you want to see what Apple is up to, look here and here.

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