Last week, New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose shared his experience using Microsoft’s Bing, powered by OpenAI — which left him “deeply unsettled.” After spending two hours chatting with Bing’s AI, “Sydney” (as it calls itself) declared its love for him, tried to convince him he was in a loveless marriage, and then told him, “I want to be alive.” Like it or not, creepy or not, AI is here to stay.
Five years ago, I wrote an article about using AI to negotiate: “Would You Trust a Robot to Negotiate for You?”. In it, I concluded:
While AI is certainly pushing the boundaries of many things that traditionally relied on human intuition and engagement, it seems there’s a long ways to go before autonomous AI negotiators take over. I would expect to continue to see a rise of AI usage in transactional forms of negotiations as well as the use of AI in supporting negotiations (e.g. optimal pricing models, strategic analysis, etc.). However, fully autonomous negotiators are well in our future and potentially something that is more science fiction than reality for a very long time.
After rereading this, I wanted to challenge my thinking here. How long do we have until AI goes from being used as support to being fully autonomous? I thought I’d go to the source and asked ChatGPT, an AI chatbot.
Please note: All content here is my own. Anything from ChatGPT will be referenced as such.
When “talking” with an AI chatbot, I find that a question’s structure will result in slightly different answers. Here’s what I asked ChatGPT: “How could AI help in a negotiation?” Here are three of its responses that I thought were most useful:
Data analysis: AI can analyze large amounts of data related to the negotiation, such as previous negotiations, market trends, and economic data.
Improved preparation: AI-powered tools can provide valuable insights and data analytics that can help negotiators prepare more effectively for negotiations.
Risk assessment: AI can be used to assess the potential risks associated with different negotiation outcomes, such as the financial or reputational risks.
Most of the responses were different versions of data analysis. This makes sense, since AI has the capability to provide quick analysis of a number of variables and large data sets. However, it also highlights one of its limitations — its programming and learning.
The promise of AI is that it will continue to learn and get “smarter” over time. However, the basis of any AI chatbot is its algorithms. In reality, the algorithms can create their own biases. In fact, when I asked ChatGPT to give me the downsides of relying on AI for a negotiation, here’s what it told me:
- Lack of empathy: AI lacks the emotional intelligence and empathy of human negotiators, which can make it difficult to build trust and rapport with the other party. This can be particularly problematic in negotiations where building relationships is crucial.
- Bias: AI algorithms can be biased based on the data that they are trained on, which can lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes. It is important to ensure that AI is trained on diverse and representative data to avoid this problem.
- Lack of creativity: AI is limited by the data that it is trained on and can struggle with creative problem-solving. This can be a disadvantage in negotiations that require out-of-the-box thinking.
- Lack of human judgment: AI is limited by the rules and constraints that it is programmed with and may not be able to make nuanced judgments that are needed in certain negotiations.
I don’t disagree with ChatGPT’s sentiments.
My personal POV is similar to what it was five years ago, when my article was published. I think AI can bring a deeper level of analysis to a negotiation. But in the end, humans will continue to matter at the negotiating table. ChatGPT seems to agree, as it concluded our conversation with, “However, it is important to use AI in conjunction with human judgment and expertise to ensure that the negotiation is conducted in a way that is ethical, transparent, and effective.”
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