AI like ChatGPT can make your life easier, but here's what to know before you tell it anything

Brittaney Wilmore Image
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
AI like ChatGPT can help, but know this before you tell it anything
Conversational AI like ChatGPT can be helpful to you in your everyday life, but there are some important dont's to be aware of when using it.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Have you ever asked Siri a question?

Whether you're checking the latest sports scores or seeking the definition of artificial intelligence, asking digital assistants like Siri for help means you interacted with a form of AI.

"Most people are talking to Siri often. She can be used as a virtual assistant, most people don't know that," said Kara Branch, a chemical engineer and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Black Girls Do Engineer.

"Even sometimes when you're in the bed watching Netflix, and you get that message that comes across that says, "recommendations," that's AI," Branch explains. "Things like Alexa, Google, we use GPS systems to get us to and from our locations, even on Meta, people have been using AI for a lot of their imaging, their profile pictures."

Branch knows AI well.

She led a team of software engineers who trained developers in the technology at a Fortune 100 company.

Now in running Black Girls Do Engineer, or BGDE, she uses AI for her business and also hosts AI-related activities to expose students to the skill.

"The reality is it's not going away. They're improving the technology all the time. There's people trying to solve it, make it better every day," Branch told ABC13.

It's also the same message she tells her girls in BGDE.

"You're building this. You're programming these robots. You're doing all of this work," she said. "So learn the skill so you can be the people behind it, to be a part of the development of it."

People are also behind popular forms of conversational AI like ChatGPT, meaning it tries to interact with you based on you asking questions. It can generate prompts or you can come up with your own.

"It's a very quick system, so if you have a generic question of you're going on a trip, what are some things to do in Houston? It can generate very quickly things to do," she explained. "You can even put a time limit on it. 'I'm going to be in Houston over three days. What can I explore over three days?' It can spit out a lot of things for you to be able to do."

You can also use free AI tools like ChatGPT for writing or to search for information on a certain topic.

Need a personal assistant to help you stay organized? Try an AI schedule builder.

Want more AI tools for planning a vacation? Roam Around bills itself as a personal travel planner. It's not free, though you can give it a try for no cost.

But AI doesn't know everything, and experts believe the human element shouldn't be removed from the tool.

"You have to be able to use your own thought process because these are models that are still being trained. There's glitches, also bugs in the system, and sometimes, things it'll spit out you need to check to make sure it's correct," Branch said.

Indeed, pay a quick visit to OpenAI's ChatGPT or Google's Gemini, formerly Bard, webpages, and you'll see disclaimers such as "ChatGPT can make mistakes. Consider checking important information," and "Gemini may display inaccurate info, including about people, so double-check its responses."

In fact, Gemini takes its warning even further, disclosing, "Your conversations are processed by human reviewers to improve the technologies powering Gemini Apps. Don't enter anything you wouldn't want reviewed or used."

That said, it's important to note what you shouldn't do with these conversational AI bots.

Don't give it too much information - think of your safety first.

Also, don't copy/paste. Again, it's best to check AI's work.

Tech expert Kim Komando also shared some specifics about what you shouldn't trust AI for.

Among them - don't use AI to draft important documents like business contracts or to self-diagnose those cold symptoms when you're feeling sick.

The latter may sound off, but it turns out people are actually doing this. According to Komando, "In a test against real doctors diagnosing children's medical conditions, it was only right 17% of the time."

Like most things, general questions seemed to be OK.

Komando summed it up like this - if it can get you sued, audited or hospitalized - leave AI out of it.

"It's really there to save companies some time to get those FAQs out the way. People may use it like if you go to pay a bill, people have a chatbot they can talk to where you can ask those questions upfront, so they are meant to make your life easier," Branch said. "But they're also there to collect data for companies, so that they know what their customers want to know so they can improve them and make them better to be able to give better outputs."

Ready to chat with AI?

In addition to ChatGPT and Gemini, Microsoft Copilot and Perplexity AI are other free options.

Still, AI is something even the White House is trying to grapple with. The Biden administration unveiled new rules requiring U.S. federal agencies to verify their AI tools aren't harming the public or they must stop using them. Safeguards will have to be in place to guide things like facial recognition screenings at airports by Dec. 1.

And for those moments when you want to skip the tech and get straight to a real person for your customer service questions?

"Just put "agent" in the chatbox. That'll get you to a live person," Branch said. "A lot of times, those agents are on standby anyway."

Good to know that trick still works.

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