A week after Microsoft unleashed ChatGPT on the world, as a free chat interface that could be accessed via the web a year ago, it became the world’s fastest-growing consumer application ever.

In light of that success, companies all over the world, like Adobe and Salesforce emerged with their own AI platforms, each with their own enhancements including mobile apps and paid tiers for enterprise clients.

Elon Musk is also set to release his own ChatGPT competitor, Grok.

For the uninitiated, these AI platforms can perform image creation with DALL-E 3, text-to-image comprehension and speech recognition and allow paid customers to create and sell their own GPTs.

Google joins the bandwagon

Not to be outdone, Goggle launched Bard, its own AI chatbot, plus Duet AI and has just released Gemini which it claims is even more powerful than any chatbot that’s gone before it into the market.

Lauded by Goggle as one of the biggest science and engineering efforts they’ve undertaken, the company claims Gemini is the first AI model to outperform human experts on MMLU (massive multi-task language understanding) – which draws on 57 subjects, including maths, physics, history, law, medicine and ethics for problem-solving.

Gemini achieved an MMLU score of 90% versus OpenAI GPT-4 86.4%.

As a helpful collaborator, rather than being yet another piece of smart software, Google believes Gemini can seamlessly understand and reason about all kinds of inputs better than any existing models.

For example, it has been instrumental in helping high school students with math difficulties or reading a student’s handwriting to detect a mistake in the formula that led to an incorrect answer.

While Pro, a mid-range model of Gemini suits a wide range of tasks, Google expects to launch Bard Advance early in 2024 – using its top range model Gemini Ultra.

“Right now we’re really focused on just delivering the best product experience with Gemini,” said El Collins, vice president of product at Google deepMind.

Timing saving and more productive

Having watched what Adobe had brought to market, Aussie firebrand, Canva, dipped its toes into generative AI before announcing an entire Magic Studio platform dedicated to gen AI, together with security features.

So is Australian business paying catch up in the world’s euphoria over AI platforms?

The short answer is yes, a recent study by MYOB suggests around 19% of Australian SMEs have integrated AI into their business operations, while an additional 21% plan to at some later point.

Given that OpenAI only kicked off in November 2022 it goes without saying that 90% of them only started doing so in the last year.

Interestingly, 88% reported time-saving benefits while 81% witnessed increased productivity.

Equally unsurprising, the most popular uptake in AI applications by SMEs has been in:

  • Social media and marketing post creation (49%).
  • Copywriting for marketing materials and press releases (34%).
  • Technical document composition (25%).
  • Market and trend analysis (25%).

Uncertain but still interested

Commenting on the role of free and accessible generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, Emma Fawcett, MYOB’s general manager for SMEs noted:

“The research indicates that SMEs know AI has the potential to help them, and those that have adopted it can see improvements in productivity and timesaving,” Fawcett said.

“However, there are still barriers to overcome, including feeling that they don’t know enough about AI or have concerns about the costs associated with implementing new systems.”

Count us in

Interestingly, in light of Fawcett’s comments, 44% of respondents expect AI to significantly impact their industries in the next five years, even if they don’t necessarily know how.

Nevertheless, the following survey insights give meaningful clues as to how SMEs might deploy AI platforms going forward.

For example, assuming AI can automate tasks that consume more than a day’s work, 44% of business owners said they would focus on growth, while 24% said they would innovate or develop new products and services.

Fawcett urges all business owners to look at what’s available in their industry and talk to their peers about how they’re using AI.

“Don’t be afraid to take the plunge… it doesn’t have to be a significant time or cash investment, but it’s worthwhile knowing what’s on offer and how it can help.”