I hear the term disruptive technology often.
Lately, it has been mentioned in relation to ChatGPT. But the reality is disruption is not about technology. It is more about a changing consumer or user behavior and markets, by creating a new equilibrium. It is about answering questions like how the market will change if something is successful, and will this create undeniable value?
To test this idea, let’s look at another technology, blockchain. People keep on saying blockchain is a disruptive technology, but there aren’t a lot of actual use cases that have so far changed consumer behavior or the financial services market equilibrium. When markets are disrupted, one or more companies disappear.
Which major company did we see that disappeared because of blockchain? The answer is not even one.
Same with GPS. GPS technology is not about navigation or avoiding traffic jams. This technology is about location. The GPS antenna and chipset receive satellite signals and determine its location based on that. Navigation and apps like Waze came later use cases of the GPS technology, which became publicly available more than 20 years ago.
ChatGPT may create opportunities, but the actual use case is yet to be seen, and the fact that people are trying it out for so many different uses, suggests that soon we will either find a significant use case, or that it will disappear as fast as it appeared.
To examine this question, I asked chatGPT to explain why it is disruptive. These were the results (which, by the way, I can regenerate and get different texts that say the same thing).
When you read this spiel, you may come to a few conclusions:
● This is way too generic
● I agree with most of it, it can create way better customer support bot, in particular if the historical data is used to train the system
● There is nothing here that will dramatically change behavior
If you haven’t tried it yet, let me suggest the following experiment: pick the first two positions in your career. In my case it would be a Software Engineer in the IDF Unit 8200 and a software engineer at Comverse Technology, each for about five years, and ask ChatGPT to generate your resume. Now read it three times and ask yourself one question after each time:
● What’s your first impression – it is likely to be ‘WOW’
● Assuming you would send this resume to apply for a position – can you defend the resume in an interview – likely, yes
● Is that really you at your core? Does it read like you?– most likely, no
Being too generic might mean you can talk the talk or write the text in the case of ChatGPT, but it doesn’t mean you can walk the walk. You may have a decent resume in front of you. But does it capture your individual essence above and beyond the black and white description of your professional roles and competencies? In other words, you may recognize the resume’s content, but do you recognize yourself in there?
Let me suggest a different point of view, if the younger generation will approach ChatGPT as their go-to search engine rather than google for example, then we are looking into a major change in user behavior. It means less searches on google and obviously this would be painful for them, as it affects their core business. So, if the younger generation comes of age and the ChatGPT becomes the de-facto standard – this is a change in market equilibrium!
If you’re looking to use ChatGPT to dramatically improve the services you provide, make sure it is properly trained with your relevant data. Otherwise, you will end up providing zero real value with words strung together that yes, read as full grammatically correct sentences, but end up providing an even more frustrating customer experience than before.
In other, very human words, while fully aware that I may simply be written off as a neo-luddite or a Heidegger devotee with my final verdict, ChatGPT technology may be helpful, it may streamline, save us time, and make us more efficient, but do we risk losing our unique, distinct, idiosyncratic selves?