Will ChatGPT and AI Impact the Mobility Industry?

Teresa Howe - Sep 11 2023
Published in: Mobility
| Updated Sep 11 2023
ChatGPT is a new artificial intelligence tool that may change the way we manage and engage with consumers and, ultimately, relocation referrals forever.

You may have recently heard some buzz around ChatGPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer). This is not some fly-by-night tech. It is already becoming an integral part of marketing and lead management. As an example, it is being used to write MLS property descriptions for real estate agents. It is a tool that is going to change the way we manage and engage with consumers and, ultimately, relocation referrals forever. You may think that mobility should only have a human touch, but reserve your judgement until you read further. 

Previously, artificial intelligence (AI) was mostly used to help understand information. These new generative models, based on large language models (LLM), are about producing new content and data. These LLMs are probability models that are built around predicting and producing information in language patterns. Now there are more powerful elements that are called transformer-based models that take various prompts into context and associate certain solutions based on previous data points, patterns, and information gathered. 

“ChatGPT was launched as a prototype on November 30, 2022, and quickly garnered attention for its detailed responses and articulate answers across many domains of knowledge. It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3 family of large language models and has been fine-tuned (an approach to transfer learning) using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques,” says Wikipedia.

ChatGPT is already being used quite aggressively by some real estate agents and companies to pre-screen internet leads and to set up appointments. Many website chatbots you engage with when making any type of online inquiries from all business types are supported by some form of this type of AI. 

Why We Need to Understand ChatGPT’s Power

Remember when cellphones were new and then, low and behold, creators took it further and we could text? We thought that was so advanced. We never dreamed we would be able to basically run a business and our lives from a smartphone, get answers to questions in a split second, and throw away our cameras and watches. But here we are. 

You may think of AI as robots and movie magic. While we have been surrounded by dystopian AI movies for years, it all seemed so Hollywood and far-fetched. But, as we know, art imitates life, and the very things that were created in the mind of a writer are now starting to look more and more like reality. 

So, what can ChatGPT do? It can:

•    Brainstorm 
•    Conduct research
•    Strategize
•    Negotiate
•    Create social media posts and invitations
•    Create content, scripts, songs, and poems
•    Custom images and graphics
•    Automate emails
•    Transcribe audio interviews
•    Summarize documents and articles
•    Take tests 
•    Debug computer programs
•    Admit its mistakes
•    Have full-on conversations with us 

I’ll Bing It

ChatGPT is created by humans managing data points, and, already, ChatGPT version 4, which came out recently, is trained on 100 trillion parameters to allow it to “think” and source data. By the way, AI is not powered by the internet; it is actually the opposite. 

Microsoft’s Bing search engine announced it will be powered by ChatGPT. This is a game-changer for Microsoft because we don’t say we are going to Bing something; we say we are going to Google it. Within two days of announcing the upcoming Bing launch powered by ChatGPT, there were 1 million people on the waitlist for the beta. According to Statista, Bing has 1.2 billion users worldwide. But Bing also only has about a 4% of the world’s search market, compared to Google’s 92%, according to Statcounter GlobalStats. Google recently got its AI model known as Bard AI up and running to power the Google chatbot after a failed soft launch with glitches. 

The thing about AI is we can still fool it if we know we are engaging with it. But the average person just wants answers and doesn’t really care if a human is behind it as long as they get the information they need and it is correct. And with every day that passes, it is becoming more sophisticated and establishing more capabilities. It will already reject inappropriate requests and correct itself. 

It is not supposed to be political, but there are those who say it does have some algorithmic bias that appears based on the prompts that are given by the human using it. Some heavy users are even saying it has a bit of a dark side. Let’s face it, AI will never have a moral compass, so if a user gives dark prompts, it may reflect that prompt. The OpenAI website readily disclaims that some information may be incorrect. ChatGPT is certainly the most sophisticated AI model out there at this point, and since it only launched in November 2022, we must consider this a public beta test. There will be flaws, and users will spend time trying to trip it up.

Recently, OpenAI started limiting Bing chats to five questions and replies with a total of 50 chats per day per person. Previously people could chat for hours, but it was becoming apparent that very long chat sessions were confusing the AI system. Answers were becoming nonsensical or delivered in a tone that was reflective of the chat partner and not appropriate. Sometimes it abruptly ends the conversation with an apology that says “I’m still learning, so I appreciate your understanding and patience.” Well, at least it’s polite. 
It’s All About the Prompt

The key to getting the information we want out of this type of AI all depends on the prompt we give it. And we have to be specific. It is more about engineering the prompt than writing it. If I wanted to summarize an article I read or a class I took, I could apply the AI to that material with specific prompting to target certain points, and I could get a beautifully written summary. It does better with data requests previous to 2022, so I guess it is still catching up on current events. 

At this point, people still need to read what ChatGPT writes. For people who are poor writers, it is a dream come true. We can actually prompt it to write something in a romantic, practical, or business-like tone. It can write poems or rap lyrics if given the topic via a detailed prompt. There are already many different types of AI programs out there; even AI can be applied to programs like Canva and LinkedIn to generate custom images and content.

Let’s Use it for Good

The scary thing about AI is that it can be used for good but also for evil. You have probably already seen manipulated videos of prominent people saying things that they did not actually say. That was done with a form of AI by using voice cloning and image and video manipulation. 

One of the challenges with this type of technology is that it is rapidly advancing, and there should be some legal guidelines to govern it. It is up to the creators to self-monitor, but the minute they sell their technology, they lose control of it. As with any new creation, the creators, for the most part, have the best intentions for it (think social media). But there are bad people right now thinking about how they can impersonate someone or extort something. And the challenge is that our leaders who actually make the laws have no clue what advanced AI learning even is. So, it will be years before any government regulations are put into place and, by then, the cat will be out of the bag. 

We Can’t Fear It

I heard someone say the other day, “Won’t this type of AI eliminate jobs?” Yes, it absolutely will … eventually. Did cars eliminate the need for the horse and buggy? Yes, but it also created thousands of new jobs in car manufacturing and road building. So, it comes down to trading certain skills and jobs for others. 

Will AI replace mobility and relocation staff? It might take on the role of pre-screening transferees, assigning agents/brokers, scheduling and monitoring the progress of moves, and making adjustments as it converses with your prospects. It can respond based on many previous similar situations and data points. Some of that is already happening with referral management software and CRMs. 

But, ultimately, someone will need to ensure that all of those moving parts are working together and giving all of the stakeholders what they need. Your staff may shift to be focused on new sources of business, strategic planning, and training supported by AI. Or they may focus on dealing with complex problem resolution, which may also be powered by AI with their oversight. We can’t trade our experience for data points, but this information may reinforce what we already think by providing historical data. So, the skill set may need to be elevated a bit, which may mean hiring people with bigger-picture thinking, but there would be savings in the way of fewer lower-level staff due to more automation. 

I know we like to say that relocation is a people business with a need for hand-holding and a personal touch. I don’t disagree with that, and I believe there are certain things that need to be handled with human benevolence, but I do think there are many functions that can be automated and guided by what we have learned over the years to take some of the flaws out of the processes or tasks that are currently driven by humans. AI won’t take over the world, but it can make some tasks and functions easier if used in the capacity for which it was intended. I encourage you to get on the bandwagon and be a part of this AI revolution that is rocketing us into the future of business. 

Take the Plunge

There is a free version of ChatGPT to explore at openai.com/blog/chatgpt. Here is an article about how to set up an account and use it: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-openai-chatgpt-viral-ai-chatbot-steps-photos-2023-2. Happy AI learning!

Teresa R. Howe, SCRP, SGMS, is a principal at TRH Consulting. She coaches and consults with the relocation, mobility, and real estate industries to help companies generate more revenue, get more customers, and create loyal fans.