Artificial Intelligence is business technology
The recent halt to ChatGPT imposed by the Italian Data Protection Authority for data processing issues has only increased discussions around artificial intelligence. Why is it talked about so much? Beyond the “science fiction” aspects, AI carries with it the fascinating promise of enhancing human capabilities. From this perspective, generative intelligence offers opportunities that touch on various sectors, from manufacturing to healthcare to retail.
Challenges abound, as demonstrated by the scrutiny of the Data Protection Authority. But, setting aside ethical implications, ChatGPT (based on Open AI’s GPT-Generative Pre-trained Transformer engine, which is an implementation of the category of AI technologies known as LLM-Large Language Model), possesses powerful conversational capabilities that have great value for business. Italian companies have long been exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence: as reported by a recent study by Rome Business School (“Digitalization, Big Data and AI in Italy”), in 2021 more than 80% of our manufacturing companies used AI-based machines and systems. Some factories employ AI-based robots to automate activities, especially those that are dangerous or complex for humans, but also to improve product quality with more accurate and faster controls. In the healthcare field, it is already used to develop new drugs and treatments and also to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, thanks to AI’s ability to analyze large amounts of data and find recurring patterns. The AI market is worth 500 million euros in Italy, an increase of 92% in the last 3 years, for purchased technologies. It will be worth 700 million by 2025, according to the Rome Business School study.
In particular, a product like ChatGPT, thanks to its ability to generate text autonomously, can assist teams in specific business functions, including marketing, design, software development, quality control, support, and assistance. In customer care, for example, ChatGPT can be used to handle requests for product information, providing immediate and sufficiently precise answers to questions, creating a more personalized and engaging experience for the customer. ChatGPT can also be used to automate processes, including data input, and to create natural language processing models that can help companies extract information from their data – as we at Dune are already doing.
Another opportunity offered by OpenAI’s conversational model is already widely exploited by software developers: ChatGPT’s AI is also a phenomenal search engine and is capable of writing in multiple languages almost perfectly. And the good news – as Professor Carta told us – is that it will give a strong boost to digitalization and employment.
Digitalizing Italy with AI: a conversation with professor Carta
The availability of technologies such as ChatGPT represents a turning point in software development: it accelerates the productivity of developers and, consequently, gives a faster pace to the process of digitalizing businesses and economies, says Salvatore Mario Carta, Full Professor of Computer Science at the University of Cagliari and founder of VisioScientiae. VisioScientiae started its activity in 2018 as a university spin-off, initially focusing on financial transaction prediction and later specializing, on the one hand, in the creation of enterprise-level web and mobile applications, and on the other hand, in the creation of artificial intelligence engines for various application domains.
“In software development, tools such as ChatGPT have found immediate application because their generative capability can produce blocks of code to be used, after a check on its functional and implementation correctness, as building blocks to be integrated into software projects of any complexity,” says Professor Carta. This capability of the OpenAI product does not replace human developer intervention at all, because the real work of software development is not to assemble or write code, but “to assemble, customize, and merge existing code parts to solve problems and create new functionality. Plus, of course, the architectural design component,” emphasizes the professor. However, the development speed allowed by AI means that the waiting time between project ideation and implementation is significantly shortened. “AI simply helps professionals to develop quickly and, therefore, innovatein their professional activity, acting as a support for the digital transformation of society,” says Professor Carta. “Think of customer care,” continues the professor, “in a call center, the conversational agent could speed up the most repetitive tasks of the human operator. Compared to previous automation attempts, ChatGPT is much more advanced, powerful, flexible, and able to sustain conversations effectively.”
The worlds of marketing and creativity also benefit from the generative capabilities of ChatGPT and similar technologies from other players in this sector, which is destined to become increasingly crowded. The creative capacity of this type of technology is linked to the fact that the software has access to a vast amount of examples that it assembles in lightning-fast times to generate something new, much like the human mind, which constructs by putting together information derived from its wealth of experiences and knowledge.
Artificial Intelligence opens up new markets
Already today, 60% of Italian companies active in the marketing and communication sectors have invested directly (by creating internal teams) or indirectly (by outsourcing) in AI, as reported by the Doxa study included in the latest research by the Artificial Intelligence Observatory of the School of Management at Politecnico di Milano (“Artificial Intelligence: the implementation era!”). Considering the business functions, artificial intelligence is used to a greater extent in Marketing, Communication, IT, and Operations, to support content production and content marketing, data analysis, and process streamlining.
The merit of ChatGPT is, therefore, to have set in motion a market. OpenAI is not the first company to work on Large Language models, but it is the first to have created a product available to the general public. And now, competitors are encouraged to invest and progress with their technologies. As Professor Carta points out, “AI is a rapidly evolving reality, and the real challenge for companies is to build services based on ChatGPT and similar models. The service offered by ChatGPT in itself is limited. To create services that exploit its full potential, we need to develop other artificial intelligence that exploits direct access to GPT available to companies and develop/integrate appropriate support software infrastructures. In this context, Visioscientiae’s unique ability to optimally merge its deep experience in developing enterprise software infrastructures and applications with the scientific-technological skills derived from manyyears of research and projects in symbiosis with the University of Cagliari is proposed as an excellence in the Italian and not only Italian landscape.
Visioscientiae has invested in AI applications over the years, developing various technological assets in the field of Computer Vision, IoT, conversational systems, and systems for exploiting corporate knowledge. Each of these assets is the result of solving use cases in the business, public health, and smart city domains. The University of Cagliari spin-off has proprietary technologies that now leverage the potential of GPT (through OpenAI’s APIs) but, in the future, also of other models, to build services and provide them to customers to improve their processes.
Thanks to the partnership signed by Dune with Visioscientiae, the Sardinian company’s technological assets will enrich DUNE’s current offering, to the benefit of our customers.
Food for thought…
- AI and work. 51% of Italians fear that artificial intelligence will lead to an overall decline in jobs, while 10% believe employment will increase and 26% think the number of jobs will remain more or less the same, although the tasks will change. This emerged from the YouTrend survey “Italians and artificial intelligence. What they think, what they expect” conducted for the Fondazione Pensiero Solido. Moreover, a majority of workers (55%) would not be willing to happily take instructions from artificial intelligence at work; 37% would. Automatic control and evaluation are nonetheless perceived more as an advantage, especially among young people and graduates (47%), than as a disadvantage (30%)
- The leading companies according to Forbes. The American magazine has compiled, for the fifth consecutive year, the ranking of the top 50 AI (Artificial Intelligence) companies. Produced in collaboration with Sequoia and Meritech Capital, “AI 50” highlights the most promising unlisted companies based on the technology developed and its commercial potential.
- Generative AI, what is Apple doing? For now, it’s just watching: no strategic announcements have come from the iPhone giant. Unless there are surprises during the year.
- AI in Italy is linked to the most advanced innovation: according to the latest Assintel report, about 5% of companies in Italy, especially large ones, have planned an investment in Big Data Analysis platforms in the next 12 months. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence represent a closely related area of investment, but one that is still not widely pursued, because “investing in algorithms is the hallmark of the most innovative entrepreneurs, those who have a clear vision of the future and a radical ambition for change: this represents less than 5% of companies in Italy and about one-fifth of large companies.”
- ChatGpt, the technological event of the year, the BlackBox podcast. At stake are the development and control of Artificial Intelligence.
- ChatGpt challenges Google: “Futuro, Presente” podcast dedicated to AI. The show explores ChatGpt, highlighting the differences between this new tool and Google.
- The EU’s AI Act: Tech Radio’s podcast explains what we can expect from the proposed regulation in Europe