Has your boss come into your office and asked, “can we use ChatGPT?”  What’s your answer?  Perhaps, as a communications professional, you have by now used it to generate some content for a newsletter, a job description, a social media post, or a draft email.  Maybe your reaction was similar to ours at Citibot, when we started beta testing GPT in August 2021, long before it became a common word in our vernacular – this natural language response is amazing!  

If you make it to the CAPIO conference this week, come chat with the Citibot Team to discuss ChatGPT and where things are going with these technologies.  We are staying apace with the tectonic plate shifting that is happening in our world with AI.   These Large Language Models, like Chat GPT and Google Bard, for example, are transforming the way that we search for information because the user gets to ask their question and these models can respond back using very clear and organized language.  

At Citibot, we have been building AI Chatbots for local government customer service for over 6 years, and we have been working hard to generate great answers to all the questions that residents might as their local government through our chat platform.  The questions are all over the map because local government provides so many important services to the public.  Some questions might be about booking a child in summer camp through the local recreation department; or how to apply for a business license; or how to pay a parking ticket; or how to find a lost dog.  From a data level, none of these questions have anything to do with each other, but they are all relevant questions that local governments receive every day.  

We received access to the beta GPT model almost 2 years ago, and we have learned a lot so far.  And as a communications professional, 

  1. The ChatGPT language model is high quality compared to other Machine Learning Models.  If you have interacted with it, you will quickly notice how generally well written and organized the responses are, whether you are asking it a question to build a job description for your new communications position, building your Keto Diet menu for the week, or getting it to write some code to build a website.  It’s helpful; it’s fast; and its versatility is so impressive.  
  2. GPT can save the communication professional a lot of time in crafting content for further editing.  Would you rather start a press release with an instant rough draft – or an informational email response to a FOIA request that’s 75% complete?  And how much time would that save you or your teammate’s time?  Would you like to save some time so you can spend your energy doing something more enjoyable?
  3. Perhaps in your new communications team member job description, you might want to add editing skills, because we are in a new world where speed of editing Large Language Model copy will become more critical.  Or you might create a job description for a Prompt Engineer, who is an expert at engaging with these different language models to generate the highest quality responses to complicated questions; and, by the way, these engineers can use GPT to build websites or webpages or you since GPT will generate code for html.  

As you have likely read or figured out for yourself, these LLM models do create ethical questions to resolve.

  1. In some cases, the GPT responses are not always accurate, which creates the obligation for the user to fact check them.  Ultimately, Citibot chose to not use the GPT model at this time for this reason, and we have built our proprietary system to only build knowledge based off of verified and sourced content that is created by the local government.  We cannot return one incorrect answer – not one – because we are trying to help local governments build more trust with their residents.  So wrong answers are a no-go.  But our head is not in the sand on this AI revolution, and as a company, we must stay so connected to the technology to bring the highest quality to our customers around the U.S.  
  2. The GPT responses are not sourced, as has been reported.  So not only might the information be inaccurate, but when fact-checking, it must be sourced.  That’s where the quality editing and research skills are fundamental to have on your team.  

These Large Language Models have their pros and cons, but to be clear, we are in an unprecedented moment of radical impacts that AI will have on all of us, and at Citibot, we are very excited to harness this technology for your benefit.  We know that the communications professional is on the front line of the hearts and minds of your residents, and we also know that local government communications professional who states that their departments are overstaffed.  You are all some of the hardest working and caring people that we know, and you should save some time with this new technology so you can focus on other things and get some of your personal life back!  We look forward to being with you at CAPIO!