Generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) is one of the newest tools available for individuals who want to increase productivity and creativity when creating new content. Because generative AI gets training from large amounts of data, it can interpret what a user types into an input field and deliver the output the user wants.
These capabilities have helped generative AI begin transforming numerous industries.
- Marketers can use it to create advertising material.
- Writers can brainstorm new ideas.
- Health care researchers can use it to help develop new drugs and diagnose patients.
- Business leaders can analyze reports more quickly to generate insights.
- Artists can brainstorm creative artwork and streamline the graphic design process.
This guide will dig more into the details of generative AI's benefits. We’ll cover how generative AI works, its use cases for increasing productivity and creativity in different industries, and a few popular AI tools worth trying.
What is generative AI?
Generative AI is a field of AI designed to produce new content. Developers build generative AI apps by constructing datasets of relevant information and training AI models on that data. For instance, a text generator will train on large datasets of text content and use natural language processing (NLP) to interpret the text. On the other hand, an image AI model gets training data from labeled images and uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) or diffusion to generate images.
These abilities make generative AI useful in multiple scenarios.
- Content creation. Generative AI is useful for content creation—allowing users to use natural language to input prompts to the AI, telling it what output they want.
- Product design. Product designers can use generative AI to help with product design. They can work with AI chatbots to brainstorm ideas for products—coming up with solutions to problems and ideas to improve existing concepts.
- Cybersecurity. Generative AI can assist security specialists by helping them test networks. AI applications can create synthetic data to simulate network attacks—allowing network administrators to test their network defenses, anonymize data, and find security vulnerabilities.
- Art creation. AI can help artists and designers brainstorm ideas for new art. AI art generators can create new art based on specific artists, art styles, and scenarios. These abilities allow artists to test new concepts, get a head start on initial versions of art pieces, and streamline typical art tasks.
- Research assistance. Generative AI trained on scientific data can help researchers with their work. For instance, medical researchers can use generative AI to develop new molecular structures, and physicists can use AI to test how different elements interact with each other.
Benefits of generative AI
Generative AI systems have many benefits. Let’s look at some of the best enhancements that applications of generative AI enable.
1. Automates and innovates content generation
One of the primary use cases many businesses see with generative AI is with content creation. Marketing teams spend much of their time creating new content in the form of marketing copy, blog posts, social media posts, and graphic design.
AI can help with all of this. Generative AI tools can take instructions for specific use cases. For instance, if you want to create a landing page, tell your AI text generator to create an introduction paragraph to your page identifying your customers’ pain points while tying to potential solutions enabled by your product.
These features allow companies to not only automate content creation but also innovate. Give these AI tools a shot by providing them with new ideas as input. See how they can take your suggestions and come up with even more. You can then have a back-and-forth with the AI-generated ideas to make them better, eventually leading to a usable idea.
2. Enhances customer experience through personalization
Another way AI is improving business operations is by personalizing customer interactions. AI can learn about your company and what you offer. And when you combine that with the customer data you collect, you can create personalized experiences using generative AI.
For instance, an e-commerce business will have data on customer demographics and the products they are likely to buy. If they can match those preferences to potential customers, those e-commerce companies can create personalized content using AI with more relevant recommendations.
Ultimately, this leads to a better customer experience because the customer gets the products most suited to them.
3. Optimizes product designs
Product design is another area where generative AI can help businesses improve productivity and creativity. It’s not always easy to determine what customers want—behavior and preferences can shift over time and lead businesses scrambling to keep up.
AI helps by analyzing large amounts of data for you. AI models use deep learning techniques to identify market trends and analyze other market factors—helping companies gain more confidence in their decisions and reduce risk. That data will help surface insights into consumer behavior that your business can use to build new products and improve your current offering.
Once you understand where customers' preferences are shifting, use AI to develop ideas. Input some of the new issues consumers face and possible solutions—as well as potential changes to your current products that make them more appealing to the new market climate.
4. Strengthens cybersecurity efforts
Generative AI has a role in helping businesses enhance their cybersecurity efforts. Companies must analyze large amounts of data to look for threats—something AI tools can help with.
Although it’s possible for humans to analyze the information flowing in and out of a computer network, this process takes a lot of time to do properly—time IT professionals can spend on other tasks. AI helps by looking at that data for you and finding patterns of activity that fall outside the norm. If something doesn’t look right, AI can inform your team to let them know of a possible threat to address.
This approach leads to rapid detection of threats and the ability to stop bad actors before they breach your internal systems. As cyberattacks begin to make more use of AI, this approach will be vital for keeping up with more sophisticated threats that use generative AI to create new malware and personalized phishing attacks.
5. Advances health care research
Generative AI is helping advance health care research by allowing researchers to devise novel drug ideas that would otherwise take extensive time and effort to do manually. For instance, understanding the protein structure of molecules takes a long time—often years. But with Google’s AlphaFold, this process happens within a few seconds.
This ability allows researchers to better understand molecules and how they interact —helping them generate new drug compounds and test their effectiveness.
Another area generative AI helps in this process is by generating test data. In the past, researchers needed human subjects to generate data for tests. But now that AI can generate synthetic patient data for researchers, they can create tests in advance to determine if a drug has a chance before starting human trials.
6. Streamlines business processes
AI helps streamline business processes. If you can identify areas where you can automate tasks and use AI to generate data, you can reduce the workload of your employees and get more done each day.
An example of this is report analysis. Business managers must analyze reports detailing information about their company and market. In order to digest all of this information, they spend a lot of time analyzing the reports to get a complete understanding.
One of the great things about today’s large language models (LLMs) is their ability to analyze data and draw conclusions. Many tools allow you to insert text reports into the AI text generator and generate summaries of the text. Other software allows you to chat with PDFs to streamline the summarization process.
7. Improved customer service
Maintaining fast response times for customer issues can prove challenging when you have a lot of customers. You only have so many team members, so customers may wait too long to speak to a representative.
Now that chatbots use generative AI technology based on business data, you can offer personalized support using AI tools. As a result, these tools can learn from your product information and customer details to provide personalized support to people who need help.
Customers can talk to your AI chatbot 24/7 and get the help they need. If the chatbot can’t resolve the issue, the customer is put in touch with a human representative—helping reduce the work your team must do.
8. Fosters market innovation
Companies looking to make a name in their industry can use generative AI to help the process. By analyzing large amounts of data, generative AI tools can offer insights into data that humans may not have the time to find on their own.
For businesses, this means more market innovation. AI helps companies find new avenues for growth. These avenues include new product development, service opportunities, potential market changes, and additional valuable insights.
On top of helping companies gain insights about markets, generative AI can also help reduce the risks associated with innovation. Without understanding the data you have, you may not have all the information required for the best decision-making.
The information you get from AI analysis will reduce your risk when developing new products because you’ll understand more about consumer preferences. You’ll have a better indication of how your idea will resonate with your target audience—giving your business a competitive advantage.
9. Drives digital transformation
Generative AI can help drive digital transformation in business because of the amount of data it offers to companies, which helps leaders make better decisions.
For instance, a construction company may not have much interest in investing in technology. They spend much of their time in the field, so they aren’t often using technology.
But when they start using machine learning AI algorithms to analyze their equipment and tell them when something may go wrong, that changes. AI that offers predictive maintenance allows companies to stay ahead of the curve and take care of equipment repairs before something goes wrong—giving these companies a reason to invest in digital transformation.
10. Inspires creativity
It’s not easy to come up with new ideas. Countless products and works of art already exist that offer everything people need to survive and thrive in the world.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new ideas to explore—and that’s something generative AI can help with.
Generative AI can help its users flesh out new ideas. Take AI chatbots, for example. Users of AI chatbots can converse with these tools using natural language to get ideas that they can use in their creative pursuits. For instance, a product designer can give a list of problems to a chatbot to have it create a list of potential products that solve those issues.
You can also do this with art—give an AI art generator an idea to explore and have it create a unique image. It may not be the idea you’re going for but it can give you a starting point to explore new ideas.
Popular generative AI tools
Since generative AI tools have become more mainstream, many new applications are now available that showcase what they can do. Here are a few of the popular options available.
- ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a free AI chatbot that uses OpenAI’s GPT LLM. Its focus is to analyze the text input of users and output relevant text to respond to the user’s request. The product also has a paid plan that provides access to GPT-4 and plug-ins for additional features.
- DALL-E. DALL-E is an AI art generator created by OpenAI. It’s trained on a large image dataset, allowing users to enter text prompts and get an image output.
- Bard. Bard is Google’s entry into the generative AI market. It uses the PaLM 2 language model and acts as a search assistant. It can browse the web and summarize information on web pages to provide users with accurate and up-to-date answers.
- Stable Diffusion. Stable Diffusion is an open-source initiative to provide free foundation models for general use. It’s available for users to download or set up on cloud servers. It’s a foundation model that allows for image generation out of the box or for the users to fine-tune the model on their own data to produce better results.
- ChatGPT vs. Bard
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Generative AI and your business
Generative AI tools offer many productivity and creativity benefits to businesses. Many companies can get a lot just from the text and image generation abilities of AI. Creatives can use AI tools to experiment with ideas and analyze data, while industries like cybersecurity, health care, and manufacturing can use it for unique cases relevant to their needs.
And on top of specific industry AI use cases, generative AI can also help with general business operations. If you have a large dataset, you can send it to an AI model to have it generate insights for your business.
Combine the insights you get from AI with human input, and you have a winning combination for your business.
If these benefits sound good to you and you’re interested in incorporating generative AI into your business, finding the right AI professional can help your organization integrate AI tools into your business processes to take advantage of the benefits it offers. Browse for AI engineers on Upwork to find an independent AI expert.
Disclosure: Upwork is an OpenAI partner, giving OpenAI customers and other businesses direct access to trusted expert independent professionals experienced in working with OpenAI technologies.
Upwork does not control, operate, or sponsor the other tools or services discussed in this article, which are only provided as potential options. Each reader and company should take the time to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.
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