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What will AI change in the workplace? For a start, everything.

Key takeaways from our team’s first AI training session

Published on

January 24, 2024

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Note: This post was written by a human and includes information current to January 23, 2024.

“I’m going to freak everybody out!”

So began the speaker at our team’s first AI training session, a deep dive delivered seamlessly (and energetically) by Sean Stephens, CEO of digital transformation agency Treefrog.

“But that’s not the intent of today,” he added. “It’s to wake everybody up.” And that he did.  

Even at the end of the three-hour session, our entire team was still buzzing with the endless possibilities he presented—from time-saving tips and suggestions for upping our game in learning & development to creative ways of hiring today’s candidates and insights into the many industry shifts on the horizon.  

Mind-blowing doesn’t begin to describe it.  

In this kick-off to our ongoing learning about AI, Sean walked us through the far-ranging impacts it would have on workplaces, workers and their work, while also sharing examples of how it will change life overall, mostly for good (he’s very optimistic).  

For example:

  • In medicine: “We're now using AI to predict what COVID will look like in the future and making vaccines for that version of COVID, so we won’t get it,” he says.
  • In the entertainment industry: We’ll be able to create our own custom versions of classic movies and shows, replacing well-known characters like Luke, Leia and Chewbacca with our friends (and pets!) thanks to AI technologies. (Sean also acknowledges the potential downside of this technology: the rise of “deepfake phishing,” the fastest-growing cyberthreat wherein attackers create convincing video and voice messages using someone’s likeness to extort money.)

Five key takeaways for HR and business leaders

Throughout the session, Sean highlighted how quickly AI will continue to evolve, reinforcing our organization’s commitment to ONGOING, CONTINUOUS learning about this transformative technology. Contact us to learn more about our AI training plan: hrtopics@altis.com.

We learned so much in three hours, it’s hard to summarize the highlights, but here are five standout takeaways for HR and business leaders.

1. Embrace and use AI every day: Sean reinforced that regardless of your role, there’s no skirting this technology. It’s here to stay and will only become further entrenched in our day-to-day lives as it continues to evolve, so it’s best to get in the habit of using it every day. And while it will affect certain roles more than others (e.g., many routine tasks in knowledge economy sectors like finance and legal will be automated), physical tasks aren’t impervious to automation either. Just think of Google’s robot ALOHA, which has already been trained to cook an entire meal—folding laundry is next! Here are some key takeaways:


Learn the basics: What is AI? Get up to speed with this free course from Microsoft. Wondering what other kinds of AI programs exist besides ChatGPT? Chances are, if you can think of something AI can do, there’s probably a program to do it. Scan through There’s an AI for That, a compendium of over 10,000 AI programs that can do everything from writing and image generation to coding and music creation. Then, get creative!


Learn the limitations and risks: ChatGPT is not magic. “It's not thinking or doing research on the internet. It's just a pattern recognition system that's spitting out one word in front of the other,” says Sean. So, just as you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, you likewise can’t believe everything that comes out of a generative AI program like ChatGPT because it’s only guessing what might be right. And, if you’re using ChatGPT 3.5 (as opposed to ChatGPT 4), it’s also quite out of date, current only to January 2022. So, the human always has to fact-check and adjust everything it writes. To read more about risks, see our blog.


Keep privacy top of mind in ChatGPT: As a rule, avoid entering anything sensitive or private in any AI tool. When using ChatGPT, use the “Reddit” rule—do not write anything in a ChatGPT prompt that you would not want to write on a public forum like Reddit. In ChatGPT 3.5, always turn off “chat history and model training” (navigate to ChatGPT > Data Controls > Chat History and Training). This will ensure your queries are not used to train and improve ChatGPT models and won’t appear in the history sidebar.


Create a habit of using it: Sean recommends writing a random time on a sticky note—a time when you are likely to have a few minutes to learn during the day (e.g., noon)—and putting it on your laptop/computer. Then, at that time every day, look at what you’re doing and ask yourself: Could I do this thing better or faster with ChatGPT? Try it!  

2. Use ChatGPT to write in your voice: You’ve likely seen some weird content out there, text that seems unnatural and “wooden,” almost like it was written by… a robot. That’s because it probably was. Here’s how to make AI-generated content sound like you:


• In ChatGPT (3.5 or 4), paste a chunk of your writing that you like (i.e., an email, blog post, etc.). Note: You can upload multimedia files like documents, images and video directly to ChatGPT 4 (the paid version), but this feature isn’t available in ChatGPT 3.5 (you can only write/paste text).


• Then, write a prompt like this: “Write what I tell you in the same style and tone as that text. Write an email to a customer announcing that our new product X is launching on X date, and includes these new features: X, Y and Z.”


• Review what it generates and, if it doesn’t sound like you, ask it to tweak it further. Write a prompt like this: “Make it sound more casual and conversational.”

3. Save time in meetings: Show of hands, who could use some extra time in the workday? Exactly. There are multiple AI tools to help out with the most time-consuming aspects of meetings—from taking notes and developing minutes, to assigning actions and checking agenda items. Note: As always, ensure that everyone in the meeting agrees to be recorded and consider the privacy risks before recording sensitive information. Here are some standout programs and uses:


Zoom AI Companion: Use this free add-on to paid Zoom accounts to “automagically” generate meeting minutes and key takeaways. Simply record your meeting and ask the AI companion to analyze the transcript. Then, ask it to write minutes of the meeting and key takeaways, confirm if all agenda items were addressed, and even summarize action items and what was promised by each attendee. It can also summarize timelines, deadlines, milestones and determine the topics attendees were most excited about.To read more about risks, see our blog.


Read.ai: For organizations that aren’t contractually bound to storing/hosting files within Canada (read.ai hosts files in the US), think of this paid program like a super-efficient, silent colleague whose sole job is to make your meetings easier. Invite Read.ai to join your Teams/Zoom/Google Meet/Webex meeting. Then, after the meeting, it will send you an email summarizing what was said and by whom, who spoke the most, what the sentiment was, key takeaways, and more. Try it! Sign up for a free, seven-day trial.


Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365: Think of it like the Swiss Army knife of AI tools—an add-on to every Microsoft 365 product that will enable you to do more in less time, including summarizing meetings, developing action items etc. It will also enable users to bypass ChatGPT altogether, offering tips on the fly for improving writing, taking meeting notes, turning those notes into presentation decks, and more.

4. Hire more effectively: Since hiring managers will be using programs like ChatGPT to create job descriptions, and candidates will be using it to tailor resumes/cover letters that match, what’s real anymore? How can you tell if the candidate is who they say? Here are some tips:


• Sean suggests you always maintain eye contact in virtual interviews to ensure that candidates aren’t just reading answers that ChatGPT is generating in real time (yes, for real). If possible, consider an old-school in-person interview.


• Paste the candidate’s resume (minus any identifying info) and the job description into ChatGPT and ask it to suggest creative questions to match. For technical roles, especially those requiring skills in advanced technologies like AI, ask ChatGPT to suggest questions to test the candidate’s knowledge in this area.


• According to Sean, “About 60% to 70% of software development is now done via GPT technologies and not good old-fashioned programming.” And when it comes to writing, he said the content marketers on his team are writing only 2% of what they used to—the rest is written by GPT technologies, which he sees as a step in the right direction. “Nobody really loves typing, right? People love putting ideas together and doing research in a meaningful way,” he says. So, when testing candidates for programming/marketing/writing/accounting roles, it’s critical to test their ability to not only generate content/code with GPT technologies, but also test/edit/correct it. The human always needs to have the final say.


• As our co-founder and CEO, Kathryn Tremblay, suggested at our recent webinar, always ask every candidate for every role how they use AI at work. And ask thought-provoking questions, like “Tell me about a time when you showed leadership” and “What are you learning these days? Please share what you’re reading and learning right now.”  

5. Boost your learning & development game: If there’s one thing we heard loud and clear, continuous learning will be critical for everyone going forward (read more in our Special Report: Top 10 people & culture trends for 2024). However, this also means continuously creating new training materials, right? Here are some tips to help you keep pace:


• Have ChatGPT create different types of content from the same source. For example, paste/upload a training document into ChatGPT and ask it to “Identify 5 key takeaways” or “Create a script for a training video.”  

• Use paid AI video platform HeyGen to create an avatar of yourself, and then feed it the script you created using ChatGPT. Voilà! Instant, engaging, personalized content to upload to your LMS, created in a fraction of the time. Best of all, you can easily edit the video on the fly—no need to be camera-ready.  

• Need some inspiration? Feeling stuck? Ask ChatGPT to make a lacklustre topic more engaging for the learner. It’s especially good at tailoring learning to particular generations, like Gen Z or Alpha.

Curiosity is key in the future

Woven throughout Sean’s presentation was a common thread: curiosity.

Sean advises everyone—employers, employees and jobseekers alike—to keep an open mind, learn as much as possible, get creative and embrace change as it comes.  

Will AI change and eliminate jobs? Yes. But Sean thinks it will all be for the better.  

“I’m super optimistic about it and think it’s going to be great,” he says. “We humans will be able to do things that we're better at, and computers can do the computer stuff better. And I think we'll all get along better that way. I'm just so excited for when it finally gets here!”

To learn more about our ongoing learning in AI, contact us: hrtopics@altis.com.

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