Artificial intelligence doesn’t have to be scary. If used well, it can open doors to greater creative and professional efficiency.
We’re living in an age of innovation. The digital world has changed the way we work, the way we live, and even how we think. However, even with all of this new technology - there is always still room to improve and develop new tools to shape our personal and work lives. Innovation comes in waves, just when we feel the digital age is at its greatest potential - a new invention or enterprise ups the ante. Almost like magic, a new technology appears.
Insert today’s hottest new technology - artificial intelligence. I first encountered artificial intelligence in college, when I took a class on machine learning algorithms and their predicted impact on the labor market. Even in 2020, this emerging tech caused a lot of frenzy. Would jobs disappear? Would humans lose the ability to think creatively? When the world was falling apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was forced to reflect on the role of technology in our society; and how our workplaces would be altered significantly. It seemed surreal to be learning about this emerging technology in a time when the world was in a state of unrest and uncertainty. For many, AI would represent an unwanted shift to the status quo - a potential loss of revenue from working, or increased data and privacy concerns. For others, the AI age couldn’t have come faster, they needed the eye opening insights and efficiency these tools provide.
From AI apps designed to help copywriters and marketers create content, to apps helping you write notes that fully encapsulate a meeting, AI is here to stay. AI is here to make our lives better - in fact, some of these tools aren’t as scary as you think. For all of you AI enthusiasts - or AI skeptics - I’ve assembled a list of my favorite AI tools for your choosing. All of these tools have helped me to upskill my work life - and some you probably have in your digital toolkits already.
Grammar is that subject that most of us hated in high school. From subject-verb agreement to simple and complete predicates - high school English was a chore. However, Grammarly takes the anxiety out of creating emails, papers, and reports for work. Grammarly makes my life so much easier. From grammar checking my emails to helping polish my communication skills, I have learned so much from using this application. Furthermore - Grammarly makes checking emails, papers, and other workplace communications fun! You can set your goals, and evaluate your text for correctness, clarity, and engagement. Their tone checker (available with the Chrome extension), helps me gain an understanding of how my emails will be received. In sum, Grammarly is a life saver!
Great for: Grammar-checking emails, being mindful of tone, becoming a better written communicator
Polished emails aren't the only common workplace struggle - slide decks are also hard. There are entire industries - ahem, consulting - where your output is primarily PowerPoint based. Not a PowerPoint master? There’s nothing to fear. Beautiful.AI is here - to help you make killer slide decks in a fraction of the time. I design presentations on an almost daily basis, and Beautiful.AI helps me to focus on the content and substance of the presentation while it takes care of the layout and imagery. I can now design stunning slides in an hour or so, which helps for those emergency meetings or last minute tasks that inevitably come up while working.
Great for: Creating visually stunning slide decks, displaying complex information effectively, last-minute presentations
Would this be an article on AI tools if I didn’t mention ChatGPT? Open AI’s ChatGPT, amongst other tools, are great for getting real time feedback or generating ideas quickly. If I am working on a product design task, for example, I will ask ChatGPT for guidance on the colors I should use, the font types and sizes, and how I can research and analyze my target population. ChatGPT responds to prompts, so you have to shape the input to receive a certain answer. However, it goes far beyond Google’s capabilities - it essentially summarizes the best research available and then delivers it to you quickly and succinctly. Have to write that research report for work? Talk to ChatGPT first, you might get some good pointers! However, be sure to double check their sources - ChatGPT sources directly from the web, which means that all of its information might not be the most accurate or up to date. Even with all the AI advancements, there is still a need for human judgment and discretion.
Great for: Crafting effective research reports, summarizing the best information on a topic, testing your hypothesis against existing information
An emerging AI tool I enjoy is PowerYou.AI. This tool is similar to ChatGPT in that it disperses information; however, it also helps you to analyze and evaluate your mood and wellness. PowerYou.AI’s artificial intelligence algorithm - named Kris - is an assistant to helping you gain clarity and self-awareness. While I might ask ChatGPT for ideas to steer my thinking on work, I will turn to PowerYouAI with more interpersonal concerns, such as: how do I make this coworker feel appreciated? PowerYou.AI creates prompts responding to previous information sent, it remembers important events and milestones as a friend would. If you want to gain clarity and develop personally while pursuing professional goals, this is the app to try.
Great for: Building self awareness, keeping track of workplace relationships, developing emotional intelligence as an employee and leader
Otter.AI is one of many automated meeting notes tools that exist. In today’s working world filled with virtual meetings, Slack chats, and voice notes - it can be hard to keep track of everything you need to do or know. Otter.AI takes the multitasking out of your hands - automating notes from meetings so you can focus on what matters. The emails will be sent to you and your guest - so you’ll be clear on what the action items are, and what the conclusion of the meeting was. Talk about meeting mindfully! Otter.AI makes it easier to make meetings valuable, by helping us to be more fully present with each other when we are face to face.
Great for: Reducing multitasking during meetings, effective and thought-out meetings, action items after meetings, moving a team forward
How do all of these tools sound? Yes, they all use AI algorithms. In fact, all of the many known technologies we love and trust use AI in smart ways to bolster their existing products. Now that you’ve seen how AI isn’t scary after all, what are your favorite work tools? How can you try an AI tool to help you work smarter and save time? Give these tools a try and upskill your work life today.
For those that are looking for ways to incorporate AI into your daily life, I encourage you to explore generative AI applications - such as those who use their algorithms to generate - or create - text, images, or audio in response to a prompt or stimuli. There are AI Models which mathematically perform tasks by learning from the data it collects. Then there are LLMs, also known as long language models, which can manipulate human-like text by focusing specifically on the structure of language data. LLMs are a subset of AI models. Ready to geek out some more? You can check out this great article on AI programming, with some defined terms included. Cheers to the technology making our lives easier, one AI-powered app at a time.