Impact of ChatGPT Era Already Being Felt

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Robots in NYCAnyone that’s ever faced a coding hurdle has inevitably ended up on Stack Overflow, the go-to platform for developers to solicit answers from more experienced professionals about their challenges. Users typically explain what they’re trying to accomplish and paste a copy of the code that’s not achieving the desired result. That’s where the community chimes in, coming forth with their own solutions while other users upvote the best answers. The end result is not just a grateful user but an ever growing public database of questions and solutions available for public consumption. The sheer scope of what’s been compiled has opened up the door for other users to simply find a similar enough question that’s already been asked and copy the answer. It’s a very valuable tool.

Stack Overflow has been around for 15 years but from March to April of this year, traffic plummeted by 17.7%, according to SimilarWeb. Tech blog Gizmodo has suggested that a contributing cause is ChatGPT-4, the OpenAI chatbot technology that can write its own code, edit a user’s code, and even converse about what a user is trying to accomplish. A spokesperson for Stack Overflow confirmed to Gizmodo that ChatGPT was partially responsible for its loss of users. “However, our vision for community and AI coming together means the rise of GenAI is a big opportunity for Stack,” the spokesperson added.

But what’s a coding forum for nerds and brainiacs got to do with the lending industry? Well, for one thing borrowers were already flirting with asking virtual assistants for help with financial services products before ChatGPT even entered the ring. According to the most recent Smarter Loans survey, 16% of loan applicants surveyed said that they had at some point used Alexa, Siri, or other voice search tools to find information about financial services. None of those come even remotely close to what ChatGPT-4 is able to do. And AI is popular, so popular in fact that ChatGPT became the fastest growing app in history, crushing even the likes of TikTok in pace of growth. ChatGPT already had 100 million monthly users as of February, before its signature ChatGPT-4 model was released.

Therein lies the threat because not only is ChatGPT-4 incredibly adept at making coherent conversation but it is also ready to explain a concept or make a recommendation, just like a very knowledgeable friend would. For example, when asking it to make a list of the top small business funding companies, these were among the names it spit out:

  • OnDeck
  • American Express (Kabbage)
  • Funding Circle
  • Credibly
  • Square Capital
  • National Funding
  • PayPal Working Capital

It’s not a vomit of names. ChatGPT-4 was familiar with their areas of expertise. When pressed further it said that OnDeck would help get the cash fast but working with Square Capital might work better if one is processing a high volume of credit card transactions. For strong credit and a large loan, it suggested Funding Circle. After expressing an interest in OnDeck, the AI provided instructions on how to apply via the OnDeck website and a phone # to call with questions. In this real-world example, the AI replaced both the online search and the role of a broker all in one and all within minutes. It can also read the contracts and alert borrowers to certain clauses. When pressed about an unusually high APR, for example, the AI even offers an encouraging explanation for how moving forward could still make sense.

“Be sure to also consider the potential return on investment from using the loan funds,” it said. “If the growth or savings you anticipate from using the loan funds exceeds the cost of the loan, it may still be a good decision despite a high APR.”

Last modified: May 16, 2023
Sean Murray

Category: AI, Business Lending

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