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Accounting Today

An app store for AI, and other tech stories you may have missed

By July 12, 2023No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Accounting Today)

OpenAI is planning an app store, Twitter plans a major revamp, ChatGPT hallucinations trip up a professional services provider, and seven other developments in technology that happened this past month, and how they’ll impact your clients and your firm.

1. OpenAI plans app store for AI

Research laboratory, OpenAI, has made announcements about introducing a marketplace where developers can offer their version of the generative AI as reported by “The Information.” ChatGPT — launched by OpenAI last year — has been the focus of numerous tech experts who have seen an increase in its usage. Companies are now refining how the technology is used (zeroing in on specific data) and developing their own models that OpenAI plans to include in this marketplace. Strategically, this widens the company’s customer base according to those familiar with this development. (Source: Reuters)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: If you have clients who are developers, or are looking for custom-developed AI solutions, then the OpenAI app store seems like a good place to start. But like I’ve been saying to my clients for a while now, let the software vendors do this. Your job is to ask, learn and leverage these apps to benefit your business.

2. Twitter plans major revamp

Twitter will be undergoing significant changes to “revitalize the social media company’s business,” The New York Post reported. Citing a recent investor presentation made by new CEO Linda Yaccarino — along with Elon Musk — new strategies are in motion. According to the Post, Reuters was granted an up-close review of the details. Yaccarino conveyed to investors that the company is talking with political and entertainment figures as part of this effort to stabilize and improve upon the Twitter brand since Musk’s takeover. (Source: New York Post)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: I’m still on Team Twitter. I use it daily and have found both the performance fine and the toxicity to be less than before. I’m hoping more businesses will gravitate to this platform so that I have opportunities with potential new clients.

3. Lawyer faces sanctions for ChatGPT hallucinations

An AI story that made recent news has some sobering takeaways. The New York Times reported on attorney Steven Schwartz, whose use of ChatGPT for a lawsuit backfired. To research some legal history for a case involving a man who sought compensation from an airline after an injury, Schwartz used ChatGPT to prepare a legal brief that cited previous cases — all of which were fake. Realizing his error, Schwartz pleaded with the judge, stating that he was unaware the AI would provide bogus information as a result of his query. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: The takeaway is that today’s AI tools are exciting and can be very useful, but we shouldn’t be entirely reliant on them, particularly if you’re in the professional services business. There’s still some work to do to make them more accurate and reliable.

4. launches AI assistant

A new AI support system called Jetpack AI Assistant is now available in WordPress. The website builder’s parent company, Automattic, made the announcement and outlined specifics. The AI tool is programmed to assist with blog posts and content structure. Programmed to automate editing tasks and translations, Jetpack AI also has a chat feature where users can ask it questions. (Source: IBL News)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: My company’s blog is pretty active and we’re WordPress users, so these tools will help us get more content out quicker.

5. Recruiting automation startup lands $12M

Nate Bek of GeekWire reported on an impressive piece of news from Seattle-based startup Humanly. It has increased investment dollars in artificial intelligence through its Series A funding — the company said on its website ($12 million, to be exact). The company offers recruiting services to companies seeking candidates with relevant experience. A large part of the money raised will be applied to SMS chatbots to help companies with their hiring process and adhering to certain criteria. It will also be programmed for interactive exchanges supported by “AI analytics features… which run during live calls, generate insights and send follow-up emails.” (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: Although geared towards larger concerns with more hiring activity, platforms like Humanly are proliferating, all leveraging AI and all promising a better and more credible recruiting experience both for employers and their employee-targets. While most small businesses don’t take full advantage of these platforms yet, I’m expecting to see them grow in usage as their costs decrease.

6. The best travel VPNs

The results are in: ZDNet has tested the best travel VPNs to consider when you take your next trip to make sure you can surf safely. Virtual private networks are designed to protect personal data by hiding your public IP address and securing the network when you’re using your laptop/smartphone on the go. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: If you or your employees are traveling, they must access your networks through a VPN, which ensures encryption and lessens the chance of data breaches.

7. New AI assistant gives insights into your workforce

Visier — an HR analytics platform based out of Vancouver — has just launched Vee, a generative AI assistant that is reported to allow the use of colloquial or what’s called “natural language” queries, which will then be translated by the Visier system. Users will receive instant data pertaining to human resources, problem-solving analyses or risk-assessment information. Vee also provides assistance with reports in the data analytics space. (Source: Cisco)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: A perfect example of a forward-thinking software provider that’s releasing new AI functions. If I was their client, I’d be learning all about these features and how they can help my HR process. Most good HR platforms will be doing things like this, so make sure your HR managers are in close communication with these providers.

8. LinkedIn launches marketing measurement tools

LinkedIn — the networking platform for businesses and independent professionals — has three new tools for the business-savvy who seek to drill into their marketing efforts. (Source: Demand Gen Report)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: According to LinkedIn, the CMO Scoreboard will assess the effectiveness of a brand in terms of its creative effect, media presence and results metrics. The second tool — the B2B Index — will give businesses a combined score of creativity, “brand-building and brand investment.” The B2B Leaderboard will feature the “most successful” brands by measuring buyer intent in reaction to a brand’s creativity and paid marketing investments.

9. Google offers consulting on AI

Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch reported on Google Cloud Consulting — a new service that provides expertise and guidance on the uses of generative AI. Targeted at “C-suite leaders at large enterprises” the service aims to give people informative suggestions on how to maximize AI while maintaining a judicious approach to how the technology is used. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: Although Google is making this available to larger enterprises, there are plenty of small and midsized companies that can take advantage. Aware of this transitional period that professionals find themselves in, Google is fulfilling a need for people to get up to speed on generative AI to remain competitive. To that end, Lardinois mentioned Google’s plan to also offer “new generative AI consulting … that help its customers use AI to, for example, analyze data.”

10. Apple Messages app gets a big update

Apple is making some major updates to its most-used feature on the iPhone, including voicemail transcription, a “Check-In” location-sharing feature, and more. The Messages app is getting some impressive upgrades, Sarah Perez of TechCrunch reported. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: All of these changes can help you and your employees work more productively. One of the new features is “Check-in” where iPhone owners can notify their friends and family (or co-workers) they’ve safely arrived at their destination. The feature is also programmed to detect when a person is home or at another location and will send an auto-notification. Other features include viewing transcribed voice messages and a new “catch-up” feature that will allow users to quickly highlight the first unread message in group chats.

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