If you've been paying attention to the news, you may have heard about this neat little AI experiment called ChatGPT. It's free, easy to use, and will absolutely blow your mind. Read on to hear about my time playing with this nifty little tool and how I build cool automation with it in less than 30 minutes.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an experimental AI assistant created by OpenAI, a research organization that aims to promote and advance friendly artificial intelligence in the world.
To explain what ChatGPT is, let's ask it. The following was written by the AI bot, and it did a pretty good job of introducing itself 🤷♀️.
"I am an artificial intelligence assistant trained to assist users with a wide range of tasks and answer questions about a variety of topics. You can use me by asking me a question or giving me a task to complete. I will do my best to provide a helpful and accurate response. For example, you can ask me about a specific topic, such as the history of a particular country or the meaning of a word. You can also ask me to perform a task, such as calculating a math problem or translating a phrase into a different language."
The landing page in ChatGPT lays out what you can do and what to expect from the program, and getting started is as easy as typing something in the chat box. It's free and all you need to do is set up an account.
My first experiment with ChatGPT and OpenAI
After playing around a bit with the bot, I decided to see how I could leverage the tech to make my job easier. I wondered how I could get ChatGPT to write draft articles for the Woodard Report for me. This could be a game changer and would eliminate the possibility of writers block. I could just come up with a topic and have the tech write a first draft for me.
Since I already had a Zapier account, I decided to try setting up an automation to integrate ChatGPT into my workflow. I found out that ChatGPT doesn't currently have a way to connect to Zapier...but I could use the OpenAI platform (GPT-3 API) to do what I was imagining). So let me explain how I created the new, kinda awesome, automated workflow.
First, I asked ChatGPT how to build the automation. It definitely sent me on the right track. This was it's response:
I was immediately struck by how polite and friendly this little bot is, thanks ChatGPT friend 😊.
Then I set to work to create the automation. I already had an Airtable base built with the fields that were recommended, so I was able to build the automation in about 15 minutes following the instructions. ChatGPT isn't perfect. I did add a step that wasn't mentioned in the instructions - to make the call to OpenAI, an AI open-source utility that would create the article, but overall - awesome job! Here is what my Zap looks like:
And it works! I created a form in Airtable to add blog topics and OpenAI writes the draft for me. All I need to do is proof, edit, and personalize the post. Let's see it in action:
Unfortunately, as you can see, ChatGPT didn't understand what I meant by "books", but it did write a pretty good article. The fix? Make sure you use specific wording to communicate with AI, and keep in mind it's not perfect. However, it will continue to learn from its users and will become more intelligent over time.
Can I use ChatAI to do "accounting" things?
Jason Staats has been playing around with this, and the answer is "maybe." Jason was able to ask ChatGPT to create spreadsheets based on table data, and it worked. He could give instructions on what the initial spreadsheet should look like and even provide clarifications and formula specifications. ChatGPT did a decent job of creating what Jason asked of it. Now, IMHO, writing out the instructions takes a heck of a lot more time than actually building the spreadsheet yourself. Still, it does illustrate the power of ChatGPT and how developers are able to leverage the OpenAI utility to create some pretty awesome automation.
For example, suppose a developer used code to make a call to OpenAI with the specifications predefined and provided a CSV file. In that case, they could completely automate the creation of a spreadsheet. In fact, Jason illustrated in one of his tweets how he could use this technology and a tool like LiveFlow to produce financial reports from QuickBooks Online on a schedule. Pretty cool stuff.
Some other cool things Jason has done with ChatGPT are:
- Taking the CPA or other accounting exams
- Training ChatGPT to be an accounting system
- Treating it as a Jr. Accountant hire
- Asking for tax advice
What does this mean for us? Artificial intelligence is here, and while it's not perfect, it is smart. We need to be paying attention and experimenting with it. ChatGPT gives us the opportunity to do just that in a safe environment. Emilia David wrote in her article on Business Insider, "Emerging technology like ChatGPT is usually overhyped until it becomes essential." I see that definitively. Get out there and play!
And THANK YOU, Jason Staats @JStaatsCPA. I mean it. You turned me on to something I've been curious about but haven't really taken the time to dig into: incorporating AI into my no-code development. Honestly, I feel a little behind the 8-ball on this, but I did do a pretty good job of catching up last week in a short period of time.