Since the release of ChatGPT late last year, we have all faced the same question: What does AI mean for the future of my job? A few minutes scrolling through LinkedIn throws up hundreds of pieces of advice, such as how you can integrate AI into your working day to speed up small tasks. But we all know these tools have power beyond that, and for many of us, we can see a more monumental shift coming to how we should be thinking about what we create. For product teams specifically, AI has the potential to revolutionize the industry.
At a recent conference, The European Chief Product Officer Conference , powered by Amplitude, we were lucky enough to hear from Ofir Natan in his talk: Supercharge your product team with generative AI. Ofir is the CPO of Thrive DX Enterprise, a cybersecurity software education company, focusing on human factor security. Here are some of the key points and takeaways to think about when answering the question that's on everyone's mind:
How can we harness the power of generative AI and work alongside it to supercharge our products and design teams and achieve more with less?
Where are we now?
The machine learning, AI and data market is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $200 billion in a few years. Within this market, there is a sub-branch called generative AI that involves creating new things based off of existing data such as text, code, images, audio, video, 3D and more. Gen AI technology is improving fast and becoming more useful and accessible, with an increasing number of vendors offering AI-powered solutions. The most well known one is OpenAI, which recently released GPT-4, a more advanced version of its predecessor, that was made available to the public through ChatGPT. GPT-4 is capable of also “understanding” images like complex UIs and utilizing plugins, making it a powerful tool. Based on OpenAI technology, Microsoft released Bing Chat and 365 Copilot, their AI assistant for work, utilizing a user's work history, emails, meetings, calendar, files and applications to answer questions and make suggestions. While there is controversy surrounding privacy, ethics and responsibility, Ofir says that it is indisputable that AI has great potential for economic empowerment and is already disrupting work and education. It is the biggest shift since cloud and mobile, and its impact will only continue to grow.
AI will not replace you, a person using AI will
We have already seen some of the resulting changes brought on by AI in how developers write code, assess code, translate between languages, write tests, and more. GitHub Copilot by Microsoft is being used widely and some developers have reported that the machine now writes a lot of their code. AI copilots for Office 365 and Google Workspace are also available in beta. But it doesn't end there. Many companies, including Salesforce, Miro, Adobe and Hubspot, have already released their own AI-embedded products, and this trend is expected to continue in the upcoming years. When used correctly, AI tools can dramatically increase productivity and those who fail to adapt may soon struggle to compete for jobs.
Product Managers and AI
Product leaders and teams must prepare for this shift by thinking about how they can integrate AI into their products and processes. Those who do not adopt AI will soon find themselves falling behind their competitors. The future product manager and designer will be truly full-stack, more productive, creative, data-informed, and focused on user pains. To stay ahead of the curve, product teams need to learn by doing. AI is not good for everything, but it has the potential to revolutionize the role. Product leaders must experiment with AI technologies and empower their teams to do the same. Building a product using AI tools can be challenging at first, but it is a necessary step in order to learn what works well for each use case. It is also important to not sugarcoat the experience and embrace the truth.
Ofir went through a practical example from his team, using Gen AI tools while building a secure coding challenge for developers. This was prompted by the acquisition of an application security training company that had a platform for training developers but lacked assessment or challenges. As such, the idea was to create a challenge that would serve as a lead generation and need validation tool. They started by using AI to form a SWOT analysis of their competitors to find areas of strength and opportunities to leverage. They found that their competitors fall short in user experience and interface, and committed to creating a challenge that would stand out for its ease of use and developer-friendly experience.
To create the challenge, the team went on to use AI when building the initial draft for product discovery; a product requirements document with a few user stories and some milestones. They used AI to help generate design ideas, microcopy suggestions and code snippets for the quiz section of the challenge. Additionally, the team employed AI tools to help with naming, brainstorming, visualizing and iterating over marketing copy. While some of these AI tools worked better than others, the team found that the overall process of using AI to build the challenge saved them many hours of work.
"Don't get lost in the hype"
There are countless ways in which AI can change how we work, and there are already many AI tools to help product teams do more with less. However, Ofir also highlighted the importance of not getting lost in the hype and instead adopting an AI mindset. He recommended asking ourselves whether an AI solution exists for a particular task, and whether integrating AI can create new value. Then quickly experiment to evaluate its usefulness. AI will not replace us, but rather act as a powerful partner, copilot, brainstorming buddy and a force multiplier if we use it correctly.
Ofir also mentioned that big tech companies have released their AI vision, indicating it is not a passing trend, but rather something that we need to adapt to to stay ahead. He advised product leaders to allow their teams to be at the forefront of this change and master AI early, especially in the current economic climate where there are budget and hiring constraints. The speaker suggested that using AI can help to overcome some of these challenges.
AI should be viewed as a powerful partner and force multiplier rather than a replacement for humans. By adopting an AI mindset and experimenting with the technology, product teams can stay ahead of the competition and create innovative products that meet user needs in this dynamic environment. There is no time to wait to embrace AI, as it is moving faster than we can imagine. AI is here to stay, and our ability to adapt will be key to our future success.
Watch the full talk here
This blog was co-authored by Lucy Harwood, Amplitude Content Manager & Ofir Natan, CPO at ThriveDX Enterprise.