Tuesday, January 23, 2024

What is the killer app for AI-powered chatbots?

In a recent interview, I was posed with a thought-provoking question about the most impressive application of AI that holds the greatest potential. This was basically the question about the "killer app." The term "killer app" was invented by pioneers of mass computing to mean a software so essential that it drives the success of a larger platform or system. It gained popularity with the 1979 release of VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program for the Apple II, which significantly boosted the computer's appeal in the business world. "Killer app" now broadly refers to any software or service that significantly drives the adoption of a technology.

My response named a broad spectrum of AI applications where the core task involves comparing or merging two documents. Consider the everyday tasks like grading student papers, which essentially is juxtaposing a grading rubric against student submissions. Or the process of job applications, where one's resume or cover letter is matched with the job description. Even more intricate tasks like reviewing contracts involve a comparative analysis between the contract's text and relevant laws and regulations. Similarly, writing a grant application is a fusion of the request for proposal (RFP) with one's own ideas or previously written articles.

This insight opens up a broader perspective on the nature of our intellectual activities in the workplace. Many of these tasks revolve around blending, merging, and oscillating between two or more texts. If we start viewing our tasks through the lens of 'feeding the AI beast' with relevant documents, we unlock a new way to leverage this astonishing technology for our benefit.

The implications of this AI capability are profound. It's not just about simplifying tasks; it's about enhancing our cognitive processes. Imagine an AI system that can seamlessly integrate the essence of two documents, distilling the combined wisdom into something greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't just about automation; it's about augmentation. It's the fusion of human intellect with machine precision that could redefine how we approach problem-solving.

Let's delve deeper into the examples. In the educational sector, the grading of papers becomes not just a task of assessment but an opportunity for tailored feedback. The AI, by comparing a student's work with the rubric, can identify nuances that might be overlooked in a manual review. It can offer insights into a student's thought process, learning style, and areas needing improvement. This isn't just grading; it's a gateway to personalized education.

In the corporate world, the process of job applications or contract reviews is transformed. The AI's ability to merge and compare documents means it can align a candidate's skills and experiences with a job's requirements more accurately, potentially revolutionizing recruitment processes. Similarly, in legal settings, reviewing contracts with AI can ensure compliance and mitigate risks more efficiently, saving countless hours and reducing human error.

In short, the real magic of AI lies in its ability to blend and compare documents, a seemingly mundane task that, upon closer examination, reveals itself as a key to unlocking new dimensions of efficiency, creativity, and understanding. 

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