Generative AI revolution 'to bring major customer service improvements', Yorkshire conference told

Increasing use of Generative AI applications by companies should result in major productivity and customer service gains while having a major impact on the type of jobs people do, a Yorkshire tech conference has been told.

Jennifer Anderson, chief digital officer of professional services digital transformation business Eviden, made the prediction as she appeared at the Silicon Yorkshire Expo in Leeds last week.

Her appearance followed a recent report by investment bank Goldman Sachs which predicted that Generative AI, which is essentially able to create content indistinguishable from human work, could ultimately replace the equivalent of 300 million jobs with a particular impact in areas such as administrative work.

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But the Goldman Sachs report also said the technology may result in the creation of new jobs and fuel a global productivity boom.

Jennifer Anderson discussed the future of AI at the Yorkshire Silicon ExpoJennifer Anderson discussed the future of AI at the Yorkshire Silicon Expo
Jennifer Anderson discussed the future of AI at the Yorkshire Silicon Expo

The report highlighted that 60 per cent of workers are now in jobs that didn’t exist in 1940.

Ms Anderson said Generative AI is part of the ongoing evolution of what jobs are required by society.

“Goldman Sachs came up with the figure of 300 million jobs will be lost due to Generative AI . It will definitely take over jobs and take jobs that are repetitive and probably even more than that. However, my son was recently doing a project on Victorian jobs and actually none of them really exist anymore. They have changed – even the doctors and accountants were doing completely different types of jobs. Things change and that’s just how it is."

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She added that Generative AI has many promising applications in the field of work.

“We are really in the infancy of this technology. Probably one of the biggest things I see is the improvement of customer services,” she said.

"I don’t think you will have to worry about being on a circle of doom on a RyanAir chatbox. We are all hoping that will improve and we will end up with better customer service because we know right now if it is anything outside specific scenario you will be waiting on a call for a person for a number of hours.

"Where it has really surprised us is the ability to create text and images that are really unique and original.

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"People have used it to create brand campaigns, to create logos. I spoke to someone today about how they had literally created an entire brand campaign, logo, image and social media content with it.

"Knowledge sharing is a really good one, we all know communication is key and having 57 people in a meeting is not a productive use of time. How do we make sure we can share the content of meetings and communicate better? I think we’re going to have these Generative AI applications that in a much better way will be able to summarise meetings and keep people informed.”

But she added that caution is needed with the current “AI arms race”.

"There’s a really big concern about where this can go and where this is going.

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"All the major tech companies – Google, Microsoft, Meta, Amazon – are literally trying to come up with something faster and better and trying to get to market.”

"It is an exciting time but I definitely feel we need to be really careful. The CEO of Google said this AI we are working on right now will be a more profound technology for humans than fire and electricity. The potential for us to create something that is smarter than us and understand the essence of intelligence is both amazing and frightening. But I am excited for the future.”