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Understanding Generative AI: A Primer for Business Leaders

By Gavin Heaton

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been under intense development for the last few years – and one of its most powerful facets is Generative AI. This branch of AI holds the power to create entirely new data, spanning various domains, including images, text, and even music. For business leaders seeking to harness the potential of AI, it’s essential to comprehend the fundamentals of Generative AI.

The Basics of Generative AI

Generative AI models were not created with the ability to create novel content – at least not yet. Instead, these models undergo extensive training on vast datasets, enabling them to learn patterns and structures from existing data. This data can take many forms – from process documents to articles, software code websites. Once trained, these models can generate new data that closely resembles the data they were initially exposed to. This remarkable capability opens doors to numerous applications across industries.

The Transformer Model: A Game-Changer

There are many Generative AI models, but the Transformer stands out as a powerhouse. Originally designed for natural language processing (NLP) tasks, the Transformer architecture revolutionised AI with an ability to learn the intricate relationships locked within textual data.

One notable strength of Transformers is their capacity to capture long-range dependencies in text. This makes them exceptionally well-suited for complex NLP tasks like machine translation and text summarisation. Transformers are also pre-trained on massive amounts of text data, allowing them to learn rich linguistic patterns that can be used to generate nuanced text. Businesses can leverage these capabilities to enhance their language-related processes and customer interactions.

The Challenge of “Hallucinations”

While Generative AI, particularly Transformers, boasts impressive capabilities, but not everything that can be seen can be believed. One significant issue is the generation of nonsensical or grammatically incorrect content, a phenomenon known as “hallucinations.” These hallucinations can pose problems for businesses seeking to deploy AI-driven solutions.

Several factors contribute to these hallucinations. They may occur when the AI model lacks adequate training data or is trained on noisy or unreliable datasets. Context is another critical aspect; without sufficient context, the model may struggle to generate coherent content.

The Promise of Generative AI

Despite the challenges, Generative AI we are already seeing compelling use cases for generative AI. Business leaders should keep a close eye on its developments, as it has the capacity to revolutionise industries such as healthcare, finance, and entertainment.

In healthcare, Generative AI can assist in drug discovery, medical image analysis, and personalised treatment plans. In finance, it can optimise trading strategies, detect fraud, and improve customer service through chatbots. In the entertainment sector, it can enhance content creation, design virtual worlds, and even compose music.

Living close to the customer, marketers are using Generative AI across the spectrum – from persona and value proposition development to campaign creation, report writing and analysis. 

Considering the speed of change and innovation in the field of Generative AI, the challenge for leaders may simply be keeping up.

Learn more in this video from the Google AI team.

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