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The Future of AI: Balancing Innovation and Ethical Considerations

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 07 Dec 2023

Join Joey and Shanif Dhanani, AI and Software Consultant, as they discuss all things AI. Shanif explains that AI is a mathematical system that predicts words based on training data, making it good at tasks but not at taking over jobs–or the world. They also discuss the benefits and limitations of AI, ethical concerns, and the need for human involvement in tasks and jobs. They address concerns about AI-generated content, data privacy, and the evolving nature of the internet. They conclude the show with the benefits of automation and AI tools for businesses, potential impact of automation on job roles, and the need for individuals to learn how to effectively use AI tools.


Joey (00:00:15) - Hey y'all, Welcome back to another episode of The Virtual Success Show. My name is Joey Kinney. I'm your host for today's episode. We had a great time today. Well, I say we. It was really just me. Another solo episode today. I talked with Shanif Dhanani. He is an AI and ChatGPT consultant with a software development and data science background. He currently helps businesses understand and build systems that connect their internal and proprietary systems to ChatGPT. He gave us some really great insights about sort of how we got here with AI. Like we talked a little bit about kind of the history of how we moved from like machine learning to generative AI and kind of what the future is going to look like. We talked about some ethical concerns and things that you all sort of need to be aware of as we're kind of moving towards whatever the future of AI is going to be and it's going to be very different from where we're where we're sitting today, which is exciting and maybe also a little terrifying too.

Joey (00:01:12) - So really excited to have you all listen to our conversation. Please be sure to stick around to the end of the episode so that you can hear Shanif and I talk about our favorite Star Trek stuff and sort of the promise of where things are going there. He also gives a very nice plug for his product, which I think everybody should check out. It's at locusive.com. We're going to have all of the information that you need in the show notes so you can learn more about Sharif, more about his product and where to consume his writings and content, which are absolutely fantastic. I hope you all enjoy the show. Thank you so much. I think one of the things that interests me the most about AI is like when I think of AI, I think of like iRobot, right? Like you think about like Hollywood's version of AI and like what that really means. So it reminds me of like those old Facebook memes, right about like, well, here's what I, here's what I do.

Joey (00:02:08) - Here's what my friends think I do like. Here's what my, you know, parents and grandparents think I do. Like when how does like what people think about AI? How different is it from like actual AI? 

Shanif (00:02:22) - You know there's a few differences that people always sort of gloss over, which I think are really important. And of course I'm biased because I work in this industry, but people tend to think that AI is like this robot, right? Like Terminator or like you mentioned iRobot. It's this fully fledged thinking machine that has its own set of that's got its own way of thinking. It's got a consciousness, right? In reality, AI is basically just math, right? Like no matter how you slice it. And I said, AI is just math. Even ChatGPT is math. All it's doing is predicting the next set of words that should come next based on all the other words that it's seen across the internet and all the words it's been trained on, but it doesn't really well.

Shanif (00:03:02) - So it makes us think that it's actually thinking. So I think the first sort of distinction between reality and sort of Hollywood is that there's you know, AI is not thinking. It's not sort of it doesn't have the ability to put together large amounts of concepts that it's never come across. It's really hard for it to understand concepts it's never learned before. And so in reality, it's basically this task master. It's really good at doing the things it was designed to do, but it's not really going to be able to, you know, take over your home or take over your life or start taking over the world, at least not for the next few years, because it's just not it's just not we got we got some time. But yeah, it's just math that's running in the background and that's really what it comes down to. So that's sort of the big misconception I would say. You know, a lot of people I work with, a lot of businesses I work with basically say, Hey, well, can't you just build a system that does my entire job for me? You know, it emails all my customers.

Shanif (00:03:58) - It gives me my daily reports. It does X, Y and Z, it goes out, it fetches my coffee. And I'm you know, what I always like to say is AI sucks at jobs, but it's pretty good at tasks. So if you give it one thing to do that, it's really good and designed to do it can do that for you, but you're still responsible for getting your job done. That's how I generally like to think about it. I don't know. Does that make sense? Like

Joey (00:04:19) - No, it totally does. And I like that too, because I think that's the big fear that people have is like, Oh my God, AI is coming for my job. And it's like, Well, again, if your job is very task oriented, yeah, maybe. But hopefully what that means is that and think about this in terms of like the promise of technology in the workplace, because we've been hearing about the promises of technology for over 100 years. And every time the promise of technology is like, no, no, this is going to help.

Joey (00:04:44) - And you get to do those higher level tasks you get to instead of in the accounting world, instead of doing a bank reconciliation, you get to analyze what that bank reconciliation means. What are the action items that need to be gleaned from this bank reconciliation? Instead of physically going in and saying, Oh, here's this cheque and there's that deposit and all the things like that, which for me is very exciting because I hate doing the tasks. That's my least favorite thing to do during the day.

Shanif (00:05:12) - And most people do. And that's why, you know, I can be really interesting for people who work in like information and white collar fields. You can start to automate away a lot of the stuff that you don't like to do. I'm a software developer and I use AI to do a lot of the tedious stuff that I don't like to do when it comes to coding. You know, debugging and tracing through stack error logs takes me, you know, saves me anywhere from 10 to 15 hours a week.

Shanif (00:05:34) - And so this is where I can really help. It's really good at sort of automating the stuff you don't want to do. So you can start to do what you do want to do well.

Joey (00:05:42) - And that's the thing I love about AI to thinking about something like debugging or, you know, in the accounting world, like doing an audit, right? Making sure you've got stuff coded correctly. The longer we do those tasks, the worse we get, right? There's a diminishing curve of our abilities to do these things. Well, AI doesn't have that. So if you're doing something like debugging and saying, I want you to look for a specific piece of code that's written, it will do. It will never get tired of it. As long as it's connected to power in the Internet. It will do the task the same way every time. And that's a huge benefit.

Shanif (00:06:16) - It really is. You know, I find myself at the end of a long day of 8 or 9 hours of focus coding, and I'm sure accounting is the same way, just like heavily focused on something, I am burned out.

Shanif (00:06:26) - And then if I have to fix a problem, I'm just kind of like, Oh my gosh, now what I can do is just throw that problem into something like ChatGPT and say, Hey, provide me the fix. And it takes me a couple of seconds. And so it makes a big difference on my mental sort of health and wellness, the ability to do things that I really don't want to do in a much quicker and more efficient way.

Joey (00:06:48) - So I'd like to back up here because this is kind of an interesting I think about AI a lot and I think it has a ton of applications to businesses all across industries. Whether you're an accountant like us or a software developer like you or creative agencies like our clients and stuff like that. Let's back up a bit. So the first time I remember the term machine learning, which I think was the genesis of AI, was back in like 2011 when IBM created Watson and tried to program it to win at Jeopardy, which for 24 year old me was like the coolest thing I can think of.

Joey (00:07:28) - How did you get started in AI? Like, what was it about? It was like, okay, this is the thing that is going to revolutionize stuff for me.

Shanif (00:07:37) - Yeah, you know, for me, I remember I was in school and I was double majoring. Actually, I did computer science, which, you know, helped with sort of getting into the world of AI. But then I did this thing called Information and Systems engineering, which was a terrible name. It really should have been just named AI. But back then it was called data science. So data science is basically the genesis of all this, where you take a whole bunch of data, you try to do something with it that's interesting or use. And I remember the first time I sort of did a data science project. It was actually on the NASA shuttles, and what we had was a bunch of data about the shuttles that had successful missions and then the shuttles that unfortunately, you know, collapsed or exploded. And we had data about the different components that failed or succeeded.

Shanif (00:08:24) - And by using that data, we were able to pinpoint the cause of the problems , the shuttle, you know, the O-ring and the shuttle and how that might affect future shuttles. And for me, this is awesome. You have this data that you can use to predict what's going to happen in the future. That was mind blowing today. That sounds very pedantic and not that interesting, but back then this was really awesome. And so I kind of graduated from school with this background in data science, and then I didn't use it for a while. I started a couple of software jobs and then I started one of my first startups, which was called Tap Commerce. And I started using data science to do things like identifying the best price. We were an ad tech platform, so identifying the best price for an ad or how much we should bid to show an ad. And it worked really well. And then we started, you know, we eventually joined Twitter and I started doing this at Twitter. And suddenly you could start to use data to do all of these really interesting things when it came to business operations.

Shanif (00:09:15) - And back then this was all machine learning, and machine learning is still a really important part of AI. It's not one that you hear about as much today with ChatGPT and generative AI, but it's still really important. But long story, long story short, I just started using this stuff for work and I started applying it in different areas. Whether that was to reduce costs or increase revenue or make operations more effective. And I just I loved it and I thought it was really fascinating. So I just kind of doubled down on it for my career.

Joey (00:09:44) - I think it's interesting that you mentioned kind of like how how it's evolved from the difference from from machine learning to generative AI, which, you know, for me feels a little bit like, okay, the next step is obviously AI that's going to pass a Turing test, which if that happens, then we are you know, we are we are past the point of no return. How it can you think of is there something that you know when you think about why this industry in particular, in this usage of stuff has exploded? It feels like it's exploded in the last 2 to 3 years.

Joey (00:10:15) - What was there a catalyst that you can think of in terms of like what was driving that? Or was it like, oh, no, no, It's it's it's been building to this. This is just time. This is just when it was going to happen naturally.

Shanif (00:10:26) - Yeah. You know, I've been working in this field for ten, 12 years and I've never seen this much hype around it. There's been a few things, I think. So on the technical side, this stuff actually started development back in World War Two, like the actual foundational technology that's behind some of the AI that we run today was first developed in World War Two. It was sort of the idea of what we call a neuron, something that tries to mimic the way the brain works. There were a lot of problems around getting that AI to work really well. And in fact, those problems lasted up until like 2009, 2010, at which point they were able to be overcome by the combination of lots and lots of hardware that suddenly became sort of cheap to run, lots of data that became cheap to store, and a couple of new algorithms that combine these data points in a new and novel way.

Shanif (00:11:15) - So around 2010, we started overcoming some of the technical hurdles. And then once you started doing that, you could start to build these really interesting applications. Like you remember I think you mentioned Watson. Watson was able to start doing a lot of really interesting things. I think they use deep networks, but I'm not really sure. But Google made a lot of progress in this. They started making things that could play games and beat the world champions. They started doing things that could retrieve information much more quickly. All of this was the result of sort of that breakthrough in technological capabilities. And then you just once you can do something technically, you have a lot of creative minds who are able to apply it to different industries. And that's the trend that we're seeing and it's just continuing to grow. So the generative AI that we're seeing today is an offshoot of a lot of the stuff that happened in 2015, 2014 and 2010.

Joey (00:12:05) - You mentioned something. I think this is an important point. The creative minds working behind the scenes, it's something that I don't have.

Joey (00:12:11) - I do not have a creative mind. Our clients have creative minds, which is why we like working with them, because they're always thinking about interesting things, very much on the forefront of technology as early adopters of AI, you know, folks who are kind of, you know, who maybe love doing. And I used to say this, I joke about with my friends with this all the time. Like I put people into two categories. You know, the person who says the second my new Apple iPhone software comes out, I'm updating because I want the new features. Or there's my father in law who's like, I'm never changing this operating system because I know it. I feel like the majority of our clients are in that first camp where we're really excited about all the new applications and technologies and stuff like that. What are some things that early adopters of AI like, whether it's a new application coming out or something, what sort of things do we need to be aware of in terms of how quickly the industry is changing, how fast new applications are coming on, and how to identify like what the best tool is for us.

Shanif (00:13:10) - And things are moving super fast. And I think it's important to avoid getting caught up in the hype. Yeah, just because there's yeah, there's a lot of new tools out there and I've seen some CEOs who are kind of like, Well, we got to start using AI, but they have no idea what they want to use it for. And so the first thing I generally recommend is don't try to fit this new technology into a problem that you don't have. Start with a problem that you have. Figure out if it can be automated. Figure out today. Are you using virtual assistants to do it or are you using, I don't know, an hour a day of your time to do something that's really tedious. That's a really good opportunity to automate away something. So first, figure out what problem you're trying to solve, and then from there you can start to identify the best technologies that are able to solve that problem. For me, debugging, trying to find the answer to a really obscure coding problem that took a lot of time.

Shanif (00:14:01) - So for me, I started using coding automation tools like copilot and ChatGPT, and it was just a natural fit. And then from there I was able to get an understanding of what the technology does and sort of expand from there. So I said, Well, hey, I write a lot of articles and guides. Maybe I can start to use it for content generation. But when I tried that, it actually didn't work too well. So because I had already had a sense for what it could do, I started coming up with ideas for how it could help me in other areas. I started exploring and trying to see, Hey look, it works great here, maybe doesn't work so great here. So the first thing I would recommend is find a problem, solve it. Don't be afraid to use it. I know a lot of people still haven't used it yet, and I'm kind of wondering why. It's just it's free. You can start to ask questions of it. The second thing you probably want to be aware of is there still a lot of problems today a lot of people are really excited about, Well, you can just type in a prompt and get an image back from AI and the images that most AI is produces, they're not very good.

Shanif (00:15:00) - You still have to sort of go through and edit them or even come up with your own images. The long form content that generative AI produces, they're not good, they sound robotic and they sound overly polished. They say a lot without saying anything at all, you know? So most copywriters who I've heard lost clients because those clients went to AI have gotten a lot of those clients back now because the AI is no good at producing content and I can hallucinate, which means that just makes stuff up. And you really have to, you know, you really have to protect against these sorts of issues, especially if you're a business and you're trying to do customer support. You can't have an AI that just goes through and make stuff up, right? So that's part of what my product helps to alleviate. But there's a lot of issues with all of these things. That's why it's really important to start with a well-defined problem, something that you were familiar with, something that you know the boundaries of, and whether or not a solution solves that problem and then start small and sort of apply that AI to that problem.

Shanif (00:15:55) - That's what I always recommend to folks.

Joey (00:15:58) - Well, I like that idea too, of starting small with a very specific application and kind of growing from there. So you're not like fully jumping in the deep end right away. You're kind of just slowly wading into the ocean and seeing what comes from it, how things are changing. And I do think our clients are, again, with with the bulk of our group being creative agencies, folks who are very tech forward, I think that does come very naturally to them, which I'm I'm, it's one of the number one topics of conversation that we have with clients is like, what's the future going to be? How's AI going to impact this? Do we need to tweak business models and stuff like that? And I do think it's a very good point you mentioned, which is that I've seen some of the fun kind of AI driven concepts of there's a group I follow that's really into like urban housing renewal, right? Which is a big problem here in New Mexico, where we don't have the best zoning laws for what our cities need to support the growth.

Joey (00:16:52) - And there's a ton of stuff that people are using to like show, hey, here's kind of what this city could look like or here's what this could do. But that's just a concept. Like that's the starting point it really takes someone. And really it's a group of people to drive that concept forward and turn it into reality. So it's a great jumping off point, but there's no at least right now, no replacing the human component of what to do with it.

Shanif (00:17:21) - Yeah, AI you know, I think I will end up changing a lot, but it's got to serve us as humans and there's always going to have to be a human component and a lot of the things that we do. And so I guess what I'm trying to say is, you know, find ways that it can help you, help your tasks, help your jobs, help whatever it is you need to get done. But ultimately, you're still the one who's doing the thing. You're still the one who's trying to serve a client or get a problem done.

Shanif (00:17:46) - And so it really should be a tool in your toolkit more than anything else.

Joey (00:17:52) - What ethical concerns do we need to be aware of as we're using AI? Not just not just from the, you know, that deep recess in my brain, that's like, man, the machines are going to take over the world. Um, just the, you know, the day to day type of ethical conundrums that we deal with when we're making decisions in a business.

Shanif (00:18:12) - You know, we're entering a really brave new world where a lot of the stuff that we're going to start to see, we don't know if it's going to be real or fake. Like you probably heard about all those deep fakes images in the videos that came out. That's crazy. Like people are making up images and videos of people that never really existed or people of showing people doing things they never really did. And like, you know, how do you deal with that as someone who's on the receiving end of that? How do we deal with that as a society? I think that's a big ethical sort of dilemma that we need to figure out.

Shanif (00:18:44) - Now, a lot of people are also thinking we're going to start to see tons and tons of AI generated content. And, you know, there's this question of do we need to inform people when they're reading something that was generated by AI? Should we have some sort of watermark? Should we have some sort of disclaimer? And if not, you know, does that get into the realm of fraud? Does it even and even if it's not fraud, does that get into the realm of ethically, are you fooling somebody for your own gain? Are you trying to sell them something? Are you doing things that you really probably shouldn't be doing? We haven't come to a great answer on this. We haven't come to a conclusion on how we want to deal with this as a society and as this technology gets better and better and more and more capable, we're going to have to start dealing with a lot of these problems and a lot of these issues. You know, there's and there's what's interesting is there's no good way to detect if something was generated by AI.

Shanif (00:19:38) - And so it's one of those situations where technology, which usually comes to our rescue, you know, say what you will about it. There's usually a way to use technology to solve a problem. We don't know if that's going to happen here because of just the way that all of these things work. We don't know if I is going to be able to detect AI, and so we may not be able to rely on technology to be able to solve these problems. We might have to, as a society, just put in place a bunch of rules. What we're going to have to make sure we don't do, though, is stifle innovation by getting too paranoid about, you know, the rules that we put in place. And so there's no good way to think about this right now. I know a lot of the big tech companies are starting to think about this and they're starting to put in place their own self regulations in their own rules. And I hope that they continue to do that. But there's a lot that we as a society are about to run into that I don't think we have great answers for.

Joey (00:20:31) - As a consumer, what are some of the protections that you would want to have from AI not necessarily protections in terms of like stifling but just, you know, whether it's a, you know, a warning or something. What do you think would give you the most comfort about what you're consuming?

Shanif (00:20:49) - You know, from my perspective, I would not want AI to imitate me or to produce content that is about me or says that it was from me and I would want some sort of very strong legal protections of somebody. There is a big company that said this article is by Zenith or this is an image of, you know, doing something crazy. I want to be able to, you know, take them to court right away, get it resolved right away and have them never do that again. So that's sort of the first thing is me as a person, as a human being, I should not sort of have to worry about being impersonated or being imitated or being defrauded. That's sort of the first thing.

Shanif (00:21:24) - Now, there's also sort of less intense but still important issues around data privacy. You know, what happens if you what happens if a company scraped your LinkedIn profile uses that to train their AI model and then somebody else goes to that AI model and says, Hey, where did you leave work in 2010? And it gives them that answer. Should it be able to do that? I don't know. I don't have any problems with that, but I certainly wouldn't want it to scrape my phone number and start giving people my phone number if, you know, if they're looking at me. And so that's another protection I want, like personally identifying information. It's kind of I know there's a lot of protections out there in traditional software apps, but it's kind of hard to deal with that when you're scraping the whole Internet. So that's something I'd want to make sure that companies are held accountable for. Um, there's a lot and then there's just I just don't want to be tricked, right? If I'm reading something online, I want to make sure that one, it's actually factual.

Shanif (00:22:17) - And two, who produced it? Was it an AI where that I might actually have hallucinated or made up a bunch of facts? Where did the information come from? So I do think it would be helpful to have some sort of information on the source of of the knowledge that I'm getting and consuming. So those are some of the things, the things that come to mind that I've been thinking about over the past few months now.

Joey (00:22:40) - I think it's really interesting to the difference between public and private, right? Because I have a lot of my AI maybe and maybe this is, you know, social media burnout from, you know, still, you know, starting college when Facebook still had to have a edu address. Like I tell people all the time, that's how, you know, I'm a little bit on the elder side of the millennial spectrum because I still had to have a dot edu when I signed up for my Facebook page. But it could be a bit of social media burnout. It could be other things going on there.

Joey (00:23:07) - But I just don't do a ton of stuff online anymore just because, you know, it's like A nothing good really happens there anyways for me. And B, it's kind of like I'm just sort of over it and sick of it. But the idea of like. Stuff that either happened in the past or, you know, stuff that was intended to be for a private audience that I'm okay with. Now, potentially becoming public domain as part of the Internet is really concerning. And I think there's there's lots of questions about that too with you know when thinking about using something like ChatGPT, for instance, I know that kind of blew everybody's mind when they're like, wait, you're telling me that if I put something that's potentially proprietary information to ChatGPT or, you know, say something, you know, to try to use it to solve a specific business problem. And I put some inadvertently put some business information in there that stays with ChatGPT forever. That is now part of the lexicon. It is there.

Joey (00:24:06) - It is never going away like the idea of that is kind of terrifying a little bit when I think about it.

Shanif (00:24:16) - Yeah. Yeah, it is. I'm right there with you. By the way, when you had decided when I had to sign up for Facebook, I had to have a dot edu. So I'm, you know, right up there with the other millennials. Yeah, I remember. those days.

Joey (00:24:27) - Now, you know.

Shanif (00:24:28) - Yeah, that's so true, man. And you've seen the Internet and I've seen the Internet evolve, you know, for our lives. And it has gone to a place where everything is out there, Everything is public. There's a lot of information about you out there. And it's one of those things where, you know, you have to we have to figure out how to make it so that it's not used against you or used in sort of a fraudulent or negative manner. And that's one of those things where AI is it probably will play a role. There probably are going to be a bunch of bad actors who start using AI for stuff that they shouldn't be doing.

Shanif (00:24:59) - And so I don't know where the world is going to go. I just have seen the Internet become more and more public. More and more information is out there. It has become a lot more toxic, I think, as well. And so it's we're at a tough spot. I think for the next few years. I'm excited for my technology perspective. But from a like a society perspective, I don't know. We'll have to see.

Joey (00:25:19) - Yeah, I think it's easy to kind of doom and gloom, but I'd love to to kind of get your, your thoughts on like if you could create the AI of the future and have it be like exactly the way that from your position as someone who's A, you know, invested in the future of AI because you love it, but also just thinking about it from a business perspective. What would the future look like for you in like the AI utopia where it's working exactly the way it should be?

Shanif (00:25:50) - You know, I'm…

Joey (00:25:52) - Asking a big galaxy brain type question. Right?

Shanif (00:25:54) - Well, no, that's perfect, man, because I'm a huge Star Trek fan. And so I always sort of come back to that utopian world where everything is working perfectly and their computer systems are sort of very good at adapting and understanding what you need and actually taking actions. And I think that's an area where we're going to see a lot of movements in the next couple of years. And that's an area I'm working on, which is when you interact with the computer, how do you get it to do what you need it to do? So if you say, Hey, go find my go find ten contacts for my CRM that I need to follow up with today, send them an automatic email, make sure that email is personalized and relevant to them, and then track their follow ups. We're not at a point right now where we can do that easily, but we will get there. And I think that we're starting to see a lot of autonomous, what's called an autonomous agents that are starting to come around that can do this type of thing.

Shanif (00:26:45) - So in a perfect world, I kind of see AI as something that sort of acts on your behalf in goodwill, understands fully what it is you need to get done and then goes and gets it done without any bugs, without any problems and comes back and sort of act as your assistant throughout your day and maybe throughout your life. So that's sort of what I imagine. Now, I don't know where we're going to go. I don't know if we're going to see that world where robots are autonomous and smart enough and walking around. Maybe we will because robotics are coming out to be a big thing these days. So I suspect we're going to also start to see a lot of robot assistants. I suspect we're going to start to see a lot of digital and virtual assistants, gadgets and devices that are always with us, like maybe a new type of watch that's always listening and can take digital actions for us. I think that's a really nice world. I just want to make sure that that world is not sort of turned negative.

Shanif (00:27:40) - And I think that to answer your question, it's just one of those things where we as humans don't have to worry about it as much. We can automate away a lot of stuff. We can ask the machines to do a lot of stuff that we don't want to do so we can focus on what we do want to do.

Joey (00:27:54) - I know one of the things that like, I think we really want the most of it. I spend most of my day in meetings and I'm like, if there's an AI tool out there that can sit in that meeting and actually take the good notes and push the reminders of like, Hey, Joey, you mentioned that you were going to do this. Here's a reminder on your calendar or in your clickup or whatever to like go do this task. And it does that automatically like, Oh my God, that would absolutely change my world from that perspective. So like I'm, I'm waiting to see that perfect digital assistant as well.

Shanif (00:28:33) - It's words that I've even started to dabble in that world.

Shanif (00:28:36) - But it'll take a little bit of time. But I suspect, you know, humans are really good at creating tools to automate away the stuff we don't want to do. And so I suspect we will have a lot of really interesting tools in 5 or 10 years.

Joey (00:28:49) - Speaking of tools, and you mentioned this. There's a ton of tools out there and more getting developed every day. Is there a place you like to go that's like a library of all of the AI tools that are available that like might be useful for somebody who's, you know, trying to figure out what's a good AI tool that's maybe been vetted by some folks and be like, Hey, this one is an absolute garbage. Like give this a shot and see if it works. You know.

Shanif (00:29:13) - There is not. And that's why I started creating something. So I just had my I use notion for a lot of things. And so I started tracking all of the tools that I come across in a notion board tracking what it is that they're supposed to be doing, what is their headline, what is their tagline? And so from my perspective, I think that it's moving so quickly.

Shanif (00:29:30) - There's nothing there's not a single place right now, but I think you're going to start to see tool directories come out. I'm actually hoping to produce one in the next couple of months. Um, and I think that the idea would be, like you said, there's a lot of stuff that's coming out. You don't really know how good they are, how bad they are. It would be great to have a central location where you trust what it is that they're saying and you can kind of get a sense for what they do. So long answer. Short answer is no, not yet, but I am working on it.

Joey (00:29:59) - Well, you mentioned to kind of going back to something you said about using some AI and type stuff to drive growth even outside of like automating CRM systems. Is there something that you can think about in terms of whether it's using an AI tool to empower a team that or using it to, you know, better synthesize your internal data to drive revenue? What's if you could give like a business owner one tip on how to get started with this, What would you say?

Shanif (00:30:27) - Oh, well, you know, I'm biased because I don't know if I told you I actually developed a product to do exactly what you just said.

Shanif (00:30:31) - So a lot of my customers are using I'm just.

Joey (00:30:33) - Going to ask if we could talk about that for sure. Yeah.

Shanif (00:30:36) - Yeah, yeah. Maybe it's a good segue. So I'm not trying to sell, but one of the things I've learned when talking to customers is they've got all their data spread across like 50 different systems Slack, PDFs, Google Drive, whatever it is, and they would love to have a single place where they could just ask a quick question, get the answer back, and get a link to where that answer came from. I've heard this across like 50 different customer discovery calls, so I basically started building something that could do this. And so, you know, now I've got customers who are using my tool, which is a chat bot that's connected to all of their data sources, and they basically just ask the questions of the chatbot. It goes out, it finds where that answer is from their data source and it comes back and gives them the answer and a link to where that answer came from.

Shanif (00:31:18) - Maybe it was from a PDF or maybe it was from their Slack historical messages or their Google Drive. And this is, you know, it's saving my customers a good amount of time when it comes to research and when it comes to customer service. A lot of folks, what they do is they use this tool during sales calls or customer touch bases where they're talking to a customer and a customer might ask them some really obscure nuanced question like customers tend to do. And instead of now having to say, Well, I'll get back to you, and then spending two hours to try to find that answer, they'll just ask the bot and then it'll come back with a quick answer and they can tell their customers, Hey, here's what you're what you're looking for. So there's so many ways you can use AI. This is just one where you can improve your operations and your productivity by basically cutting down the amount of time it takes to search for something. But you can also do things like I mentioned, which is if you've got an engineering team, you can plug them into ChatGPT and they can start using this thing and save hours a week by not having to debug.

Shanif (00:32:15) - If you've got a marketing team, you can use this to come up with content ideas about the next set of guides or articles you want to write and also edit. You know, if you've got a legal team you can use this to this is something I was talking about with a couple of lawyers. If you've got a legal team, you can plug in all of your historical case documents and then use that to research which cases are most relevant to your current case. So there's so many things you can do. It's almost one of those things where I can almost guarantee if you're working in the world of information, there's something that you could do with AI. It sort of depends on your business. But the areas I've seen that have had the biggest impact, like I said, are search information retrieval, content generation and content editing. And so those are areas where you probably could get started right away.

Joey (00:33:00) - I think that's fantastic. And it's something where, again, we're always and we joke about this all the time in our consulting, right? Like whenever you go to do anything with consulting, you go to business school, you go wherever they teach you all the things you need to know, like you take 4 or 5 strategy classes, right? There's not a class that talks about operations, right? There isn't like a business operations class on like how to do Lean Six Sigma or how to do other types of management things.

Joey (00:33:28) - If you're going to use like an entrepreneurial operating system or something like that, you have to learn all that behind the scenes. And I think that's probably the biggest hole that I see in a lot of businesses is, you know, as they're scaling and growing, they're just kind of moving through and saying like, I'm just going to see what sticks when I throw something at. A wall and we're just going to go with what works and try to build that way. And man, think if you're someone who's trying to grow from like a couple of employees, maybe doing a couple million a year to to 2 or 3 axing that and really growing your business. Using some sort of tool like this to help streamline and automate is a great fulcrum that you can use to lever up.

Shanif (00:34:11) - You know, it's totally true. I actually wrote something recently where I suspect that small businesses, midsize businesses are going to get a disproportionately larger amount of benefit from this stuff because they can automate away a lot of the things that they might have needed to hire for.

Shanif (00:34:25) - They can automate a lot of the things that they originally took a lot of time to do. And I suspect, like if you're a small business and you're growing quickly, you're probably going to be able to use automation to really, really hyper charge your growth. You have to know how to do it and how to implement it properly. But if you're really focused on that, you can really get some some really good productivity going.

Joey (00:34:45) - When I think about PMS in particular, right, most, most creative and digital agencies and really a lot of companies in general struggle to figure out how to maximize the believability of their project management team, which, you know, is there's an operational question there, but there's also a work question to and if you can figure out a way to automate more of their your PM tasks and stuff like that. So they're not spending as many hours working on the administrative data organizing and stuff like that, and they're able to spend more time driving value to your client. That's a very easy way to not only increase your revenue, but also move some of your resources fro m,you know, overhead below the line to something that's revenue generating in a higher percentage.

Joey (00:35:32) - That's a win for all aspects of your business.

Shanif (00:35:34) - It's true. It's true. There's so many things you can do here. I'm really excited because I think that we're going to start to see a lot of areas where jobs are going to become more efficient. You know, some people are worried, well, they're going to become redundant and that might be the case. But I suspect that it will also lead to brand new jobs that are being created. But for the jobs that exist and people who know how to use AI tools for them, it's one of those things where you're going to really start to see a lot of growth. I don't know much about the like the project management space. I've done a little bit of product management and so it certainly could help in areas there. But I think it's a great time to be able to start embracing a lot of this stuff and learning how to use it so that you can do your job better.

Joey (00:36:17) - So for our audience, who's wanting to learn more about your product and how they can use it, where do we go to find some more information about that?

Shanif (00:36:26) - Yeah, my company's name is called Locusive, locusive.com.

Shanif (00:36:32) - And you can just look us up there. I'm also available at locusive.com. Feel free to email me if I can ever help with anything. I'm on LinkedIn, so feel free to check us out. You know, we do a lot of free consulting calls. We do a lot of free education workshops, webinars, just stuff to get people educated about this stuff. I love talking about it and so I'm always happy to help if I can.

Joey (00:36:56) - Well, I know I'm going to be checking that out later because, again, AI this is one of the things that excites me the most about the space. It's just learning. I am the guy who's like, I want not only the newest iPhone software, I'm okay being a beta tester, I'm fine. I want to see what this cool machine can do and how it can help me. So real quick, one of the things we like to do on this podcast, because we've talked a lot of stuff that's kind of big picture things and we always like to kind of end with a fun question to kind of let people know who you are as a person, not just who you are in the business sense, talking about it on a on a podcast gear to, to agency owners.

Joey (00:37:31) - So you mentioned Star Trek earlier, which is not something that I was a Star Wars guy, not a Star Trek guy. But I am I guess would say fluent enough in Star Trek to be able to ask the following question.

Shanif (00:37:46) - Oh, boy. All right.

Joey (00:37:47) - All of the different iterations of Star Trek, you've got all the different types of things and the different actors who've played the roles. Which series which run of Star Trek is your favorite and why?

Shanif (00:38:01) - I have to say Voyager. I grew up on Voyager. I cut my teeth on it. It was one of the ones that I fell in love with. I love the crew. I love the you know, apparently there were a lot of issues backstage where the cast didn't like each other, which is kind of a shame. But I was a huge Voyager fan. Just that concept of going really far away, exploring new space, coming together as a team and a family. I just loved it.

Shanif (00:38:21) - So it's kind of cool now where you've got the Star Trek revival where they're kind of bringing old Voyager castmates or crew members and actors onto the new shows. And so I love that. But I've also gotten into Strange New Worlds recently, which is a really great show as well.

Joey (00:38:38) - One of the things on Star Trek, you mentioned the revival, and I think this is really cool. It was so far ahead of its time in terms of like visually what it was trying to show. Right. And as we've gotten better about, you know, showing what these galaxies could look like and things like that, like it's a much more visually compelling show now than it was 30 or 40 years ago when it got started. Like, think about books like Ender's Game, which when they made that movie, I was super excited because that was a formative novel from when I was a kid..

Shanif (00:39:11) -  Me as well, I love that book.

Joey (00:39:11) -. Yeah. And was like, We finally got to a point like where we're able to do enough CGI to like show what this thing would actually look like.

Joey (00:39:20) - So I'm really excited about that from like a content perspective because we've, you know, even Dune, right? I know the Second Dune is, getting pushed back. But the I had never watched the original dune from the 80 I watched the one that came out a couple of years ago and it just blew my mind was like this is one of the best things I've ever seen and it's right here in my living room, so the sky's the limit on some of these these things that that we're going to be watching.

Shanif (00:39:48) - It really is. And one quick thing you might appreciate this, Joey. I don't know if you remember the movie Interstellar. They for the first time, do you remember that black hole that they showed? They used a machine to simulate what a black hole actually would look like in real life. And that was one of the very first that was actually the first accurate representations. I think they actually want some sort of prize like scientific prize for accurately depicting a black hole properly. And they have to use like crazy computation power to simulate what it would look like.

Shanif (00:40:15) - And they came up with that image. And so not only are we now able to start seeing these awesome visuals, but we are actually able to start seeing and simulating what they might actually look like in real life. And that's really exciting as well.

Joey (00:40:27) - Was that the one where they were doing that, where it took like a day to process like one second of screen time? 

Shanif (00:40:35) - I think so.

Joey (00:40:35) - So like it's a ridiculous I probably got that stat wrong, but it's a ridiculous amount of time where saw I was like, Oh my God, that thing took like three years just to visualize like a minute or two of, of actual screen time, which, you know, again, that was I love Interstellar too. I didn't talk about that, but it's one that occasionally I'll just go back and rewatch from time to time and be like, I just, I just kind of want to hang out in this world where all of this stuff just exists.

Shanif (00:41:02) - It's fascinating. And I wonder if, you know, how close if we're going to get there and if so, how close we are.

Shanif (00:41:07) - I always think about like futuristic stuff like that. So for me, it's really awesome to see.

Joey (00:41:14) - Well, thank you so much for joining us today and taking some time to talk about AI. I'm super excited for the future as well. You kind of mentioned where to go to find you on kind of just with your business and the products that you're creating. Where can we find you anywhere on LinkedIn that you'd like to share or other places for us to interact with your writing? Is it all done through your website or is there another place for us to go? AI Right.

Shanif (00:41:39) - Yeah, I write a ton on LinkedIn, so LinkedIn.com and you can see a lot of what I write about there. And then I have a bunch of guides and articles and I also have a newsletter. You can access the guides in the articles from locusive.com. Best place to go.

Joey (00:41:58) - Beautiful. Well, this was super fun. I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for joining us today and looking forward to checking back in with you in a little.

Joey (00:42:06) - You know, a year or two is a very long time in the world. So I'd love to follow up with you again in the future just to talk about how things have changed even since we've had this conversation. So thank you so much.

Shanif (00:42:18) - Thank you. I've had a blast. I'd love to catch up. Thanks, Joey.


The Future of AI: Balancing Innovation and Ethical Considerations with Shanif Dhanani