AI Again

This year, like last, seems to be another year of AI and how it’s making inroads into all aspects of life. Recently I heard a summary of tech products at a trade show that included a company making and selling a pillow with integrated AI. A pillow! I’m not a late adaptor or a luddite, but who really needs AI feedback from a pillow? Isn’t that what smart watches, sleep monitors, C-PAP machines and others do for us already? Still, for gadget enthusiasts, I suppose there’s a market for that.

In some ways we’ve been using AI for a while. The algorithms that tell us what to watch next on Netflix or other streaming services are AI. Those “typing suggestions” in Microsoft Word, your texts and emails, the predictive text, is another form of AI. (Side question: Is it ever what you were going to write? Ducking? Really Ios?)

Proponents of AI can’t say enough good about how it makes life easier and faster, especially for any kind of writing.  You may have read my earlier post about how I tried it out and found it to be an ok (we’re talking C level) starting point for my own writing. Luckily, here at Laurel Rock Consulting, I have an actual human who functions in the same capacity and is much better at knowing what kinds of things get my brain sparking when she sends me an idea to flesh out.

You see, AI has not spent the last year learning how to specifically help me get words out in a coherent fashion – but my colleague has. AI works by scraping the internet for content. What content it chooses is a mystery and specific to each tool. It could ingest great works of literature like War and Peace, Little Women, Gone With the Wind, or To Kill a Mockingbird to help authors struggling with writer’s block. Or, that AI tool could use made up stuff from fake pages on Wikipedia, or unverified facts from the recesses of the internet.  It could combine all these sources and dilute them to the lowest common denominator.

Something else to ponder: AI is using both exceptional and questionable writing in its algorithms. Is the tool really polishing your written work? It might be changing its meaning or adding false information. AI has been found to invent source information such as book titles and quotes that sound legitimate but are fabricated.

In our business sector, AI is collecting and learning from proposals submitted for government solicitations and grant applications. All of them, whether they won the funding or not. If your company depends on great proposals or well-written grant applications to keep the doors open and the lights on, and you’re using AI to improve your writing or simplify the writing process, keep that in mind. Working with an AI tool that takes in thousands of megabytes of writing to learn may seem faster than working with a human, but consider how well it can tailor its writing, and how quickly it responds to feedback, especially on a tight deadline.

Then think about what you’re giving away when using an AI tool.  Whether you use a free or paid one, it collects your information, search parameters, and whatever you input, then makes that data available to other users.

This includes your proprietary content. If you are writing a proposal incorporating your win themes, differentiators, value proposition, and intellectual property, AI will use that information as part of its learning.  For everyone, not just your company.

Keep your information, your intellectual property, your win themes, your differentiators, and your value proposition. Tell a compelling story that will win you your next proposal, grant or business proposition, written by a verified human, who has your interests at heart. Let Laurel Rock guide you.