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Exploring the Impact of Generative AI: A Conversation Between Emely Patra and Jude Umeh

Emely Patra, Publicis Sapient Salesforce Practice Lead – EMEA, and Jude Umeh, Architect Team Lead (Comms Media & Hi-tech) - UK&I Professional Services Salesforce, discuss the real-world, real-time impact of generative AI. Cutting through the hype, the two explore their own reflections surrounding the technology and its effect on both their personal and professional lives.

To start, let's kick off with personal reflections and discuss how each of you is using generative AI in your day-to-day lives.

Emely: I recently used AI for my family’s trip to Egypt. I prompted it to create a five-day itinerary and give me everything I needed to see and do while there.

Jude: I also used AI to help me prepare for a trip. I volunteered in Ghana recently and I was able to use AI to research and understand the area's history over the past century or so. It was quite educational and instructive and helped me discover the best places to visit.

One of the concerns raised about generative AI is that everyone seems to be using the same AI tools. Does this pose a potential risk that everyone ends up with similar responses?

Emely: There is always a risk with any tool, right? In my mind, generative AI is currently not at a point where you can just rely on it to do stuff. Currently, it's good at providing a framework, like a template, so you're not working from a blank page. If you simply copy and paste what it outputs, it'll likely be obvious. We must be conscious of how we're using it as a tool to generate the basics rather than the end product. The end product still needs to have a human touch.

Jude: I'm not so sure. You can prompt ChatGPT to do things in different personas, which can create specific responses. Of course, you still need to tweak it to make it yours. I'm not yet in the school of thought that this will change everything. I think that there is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary aspect to this that we need to be mindful of.

“AI will force us to be more intelligent, to bring more value, and to think out of the box.” — Emely Patra

In the near term, how will this technology change how you work?

Jude: There is the potential to change a lot of the way we do things. Speaking generally, this multimodal aspect of generative AI is now starting to open great opportunities with user experience based on audio, image, video and text input-output. I recently watched a TEDx talk about how the technology might facilitate a shift from the traditional computer—keyboard, mouse, screen—into something you can converse with. People say it's an iPhone moment, but it could also be likened to a mouse or GUI (or even Sputnik) moment. AI could fundamentally shift how we interact with the tools we use.

Emely: In the short term, working in tech, I feel AI makes our jobs more intellectually inclined. It reduces the admin or automation and essentially pushes people to ask themselves, "What is my differentiator as a human being." And that's my intelligence, my emotions, my social connection. People who use AI intelligently will replace some of those cumbersome and repetitive automation jobs. AI will force us to be more intelligent, to bring more value, and to think out of the box.

Do you see AI becoming a positive or negative influence on an organization's culture? Will it bring people together for collaboration, or will people collaborate with their AI tools instead?

Jude: A lot of companies and people in various organizations are asking the same thing. It appears to me that the more employees, and especially leadership, take the initiative to investigate and understand the potential impact of this technology on their jobs and business, the sooner they can be positioned to define how it influences our culture. As humans in the loop, we're supposed to be the ones guiding with our values and common sense. Otherwise, machines will do what machines do. I'm not pessimistic about AI. I think it will enhance how we define our cultures and our roles.

Emely: Culture is a very human thing, right? So, we might change how we interact with each other, but I think we have an opportunity to have richer interactions based on the tools and the data that will be available to us. On the flip side, there's a school of thought emerging that addresses how do you sell to bots. How do you make your digital proposition get through the gateway if it is being evaluated by a bot or some form of AI when it's typically a human using a certain amount of logic?

“Ethics, intellectual property, trust and security should be at the forefront of our interactions with this technology.” — Jude Umeh

How is Publicis Sapient, as a Salesforce partner, currently introducing some of these new AI tools to our clients to help them deliver better personalized experiences to their customers?

Jude: I can’t speak for Publicis Sapient, but in any partnership or business, you've got to focus on core competencies, right? Since digital transformation is really at the heart of it, when incorporating generative AI into organisations, we need to not only transform what we currently do but also how we do it. So, in our role as trusted advisors, we stand with customers and partners, we help them navigate those journeys, and I feel there is a lot of opportunity to explore how we move this forward together. I think this is very exciting and will be a game-changer in many ways.

Emely: Yeah, that's the thing. It's built on top of what already exists, so the different aspects of AI, natural language processing, audio feature, etc., already exist, and they do a great job. What you now add on top of it with generative AI is the conversation. It's all about experience, which links to our WhatsApp integration, essentially allowing you to serve your customers in real-time via the most commonly used chat channel. No longer will customers have to wait for days to receive an email response. Instead, you can engage with them immediately, offering assistance and guiding their choices. This 360-approach means being next to your customers, creating the experience for them, and bringing your brand to them. But being intuitive and being ahead of their needs is what makes a customer experience great, and that's what businesses want to be doing in today's world.

So, here’s the million-dollar question: is generative AI a friend or foe?

Emely: Friend, definitely a friend. I believe generative AI holds tremendous potential and will profoundly impact our work, our everyday lives, and even our children's education. However, it's important to acknowledge that we are venturing into uncharted territory, where laws and regulations have not yet caught up. As the saying goes, "With great power comes great responsibility." We must remain responsible and mindful of how we harness the capabilities of generative AI to ensure ethical and responsible use.

Jude: I agree. It is a tool that can be used for good or not so good. I'm excited and enthusiastic about its potential, but we must also remember the importance of trust and responsibility. Ethics, intellectual property, trust and security should be at the forefront of our interactions with this technology. It's a friend we need to be close to and guide what it does for you.

Want to read more? Learn about our Publicis Sapient AI Value Alignment Lab offering and how we can help you transform your organization from Now to Next.

Emely Patra
Emely Patra
Group Vice President and Head of Publicis Sapient Salesforce Practice in EMEA

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