The Coming Productivity Boom

by | Jun 5, 2023 | General

Using Artificial Intelligence to Get Things Done

There’s a lot of hype around Artificial Intelligence, particularly lately with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Whenever there’s hype, there’s often a backlash. The main criticisms I’ve heard are either “it gets things wrong, so it’s useless” or “robots will take everyone’s jobs and kill us all!”

But there are practical, useful, and mostly boring impacts to Generative AI. Here’s a real life example at Dock Street: 

We’ve been buying bonds lately. We think they’re finally a good deal. Bonds mature on a specific date and when you’re buying bonds for hundreds of people, you need to keep track of which bonds mature on which date, and for which people. We have to stay on top of it. 

A few weeks ago I used ChatGPT to help me write this “maturing bonds notifier” program. I could have written the code myself, but it would have taken me about an hour of very focused attention and about half a dozen Google searches to get it done. Instead of doing it all myself, I explained in English what I wanted the program to do, and I got it all done in about 15 minutes.  

Here’s exactly what I told ChatGPT:

“I want to write a Python script that checks whether bonds are maturing in various accounts. I want the script to run on the 1st of the month and the 15th of the month. And I also want it to run if the bond Maturity Date is 3 days or less. Otherwise, it should error.”

A few seconds later it came back with a prototype for this program. It was pretty good, but I wanted to change a few things. So again, in English, I gave it some notes and it re-wrote the program.

 

It was easy to take this prototype and then change it around for our real world use case. And now every morning at 9am we get a message about which bonds are maturing in which accounts—no more hours of manually checking. And using GPT, I was able to write the program faster than if I were doing it by myself. 

This increases my productivity. I can get more done in less time, and nearly for free. And this won’t be unique to Dock Street. Companies all over the world will leverage Generative AI to increase their productivity. This won’t make headlines because it’s the kind of boring everyday work of just getting things done.

Best regards,

Evan McGoff

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