Note from March 27, 2023: In generative AI, last month seems like a decade ago, given how quickly the market and technology is evolving. Read our more recent article on the topic with updated thinking here.
There’s lots of buzz (dare we say “chat”?) around ChatGPT, the conversational AI demonstration released by OpenAI.com. While ChatGPT in its present implementation is not ready for prime time in enterprise applications — due to uncertainty about availability, workflow, security, and pricing – there are compelling new uses of AI on the near horizon for market and competitive intelligence research portals.
Most notably, Northern Light currently is developing a question answering capability for SinglePoint™, our enterprise knowledge management platform optimized for market and competitive intelligence. A SinglePoint user will be able to input a direct question to the portal and receive a direct answer that references and links to the source document(s) from which the answer is derived.
To develop question answering, Northern Light is using Google BERT, which stands for “Bi-directional Encoder Representations from Transformers”. BERT has been in commercial use for a while in Google search results. Ask Google a question and you will see BERT in action. Also, beyond having a free license for use by developers like Northern Light, BERT can be integrated into secure enterprise workflows like those for which SinglePoint is optimized.
That’s in stark contrast to the technology that underlies ChatGPT, GPT-3 (“Generative Pre-Trained Transformer”), a neural network developed by OpenAI. At present there are no enterprise-class facilities for using GPT-3 in a scaled up commercial or enterprise setting. Microsoft, which invested $10 billion in OpenAI and now owns more than a third of the company, will be commercializing it for enterprise use, but details such as availability and pricing have not been announced. (Let’s hope that Microsoft does not follow their historical pattern of charging seven figure fees for access to their AI solutions!)
ChatGPT is not yet enterprise ready for several reasons. For instance, it has no ability to generate text about anything more recent or anything outside its Internet-based training set — a large amount of unspecified internet content from and prior to 2021 including Wikipedia. Also, it currently generates quotes without attribution, which is a clear-cut copyright violation and will undoubtedly push publishers to prohibit use of their content in ChatGPT applications.
Still, there’s no denying that conversational AI is an exciting technology and may hold great promise once some of these issues are addressed. Conversational AI presents a different model for interacting with a search application and as such is worthy of serious consideration. Northern Light will be conducting experiments as soon as it is practical to see if conversational/ generative AI adds value with the type of content that populates enterprise market and competitive intelligence portals: proprietary primary market research, licensed secondary market research, scientific journals, authoritative news media outlets, and more.
Northern Light is paying close attention to this trend, as we have to AI-based machine learning from the beginning. The fact that we’ve been embedding useful AI-based capabilities within SinglePoint for over five years is testimony to our focus and innovation chops. So rest assured we will be among the first to bring practical, affordable, and legally compliant generative AI to market and competitive intelligence portal applications.