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ChatGPT – Rise of the machines?

This article is featured in the Spring Investor Magazine, to read more articles from Investor, please click here.

One of the biggest news stories of 2023 so far, has been the explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In particular, a piece of software that was recently launched into the public domain called ‘ChatGPT’.

To keep things simple, ChatGPT is a piece of software that uses Artificial Intelligence in the form of a ‘chatbot’ that you can converse with. You can ask it just about anything. Powered by vast amounts of data and language models, it will provide you with some rather astonishing responses to your questions, in a matter of seconds.

Type ‘can you write me a fairytale that would take me around 5 minutes to read to my children’ into the search bar and within seconds it will write one for you. ‘Design me a meal plan for a vegetarian consuming 2000kcals per day, excluding broccoli’ – it will immediately produce a meal plan right there and then, with no broccoli in sight. Need the ingredients and quantities for those meals once it has finished? Just ask and you’ll have those as well, faster than you can say “how is this possible?”. It will write code for computers, or poetry, and has even been rumoured to have passed some very high-level examination papers. It really is quite remarkable to watch it in action.

This clearly raises some obvious questions for our industry. “Doesn’t that make me redundant?” being the obvious one, for starters. If ChatGPT, or an equivalent program, can answer questions about capital gains tax, investments, company valuations, or economic data, is it time for me to find another job?…

The short and concise answer is no. Absolutely not.

Firstly, and very importantly, ChatGPT is not faultless – it makes mistakes. And it does so with a great deal of confidence sometimes, which is even more concerning. Now, of course, we can also make mistakes, but the circumstances are worlds apart. ChatGPT isn’t regulated by the FCA, it has no compliance department or senior management in place. You can’t complain or claim compensation from the Financial Ombudsman if it gets something wrong. You won’t even get an apology.

Secondly, ChatGPT has some glaring limitations. It cannot understand complex financial circumstances or replicate the nuances of managing a portfolio of investments in varied market conditions, consistently, over long periods of time. It lacks the broader ‘out of the box’ thinking, creativity, knowledge, and regulatory understanding that comes with decades of experience on this subject.

The truth is that anyone can use a search engine to find answers to their questions. They do every day. But people still choose to use a Personal Trainer instead of Google or YouTube videos to get fit. People still choose to use an accountant rather than search forums and websites for the data to put on their tax returns. People still see a therapist rather than read through websites searching for peer-reviewed research and psychology papers. Which leads me on to my final point:

ChatGPT isn’t human, nor will it ever be. A discretionary investment management service from Hawksmoor is completely bespoke and tailored to you. Through life’s ups and downs as well as the financial markets. We often manage money for generations of the same families and develop relationships with our clients that can’t ever be replicated by a machine. That is the truth.

AI, in time, will help develop into tools that will help assist us in what we do for our clients, not replace us…

…Unless, of course, this article was written by ChatGPT and I’m already looking for another job!

Edward Smith, Assistant Investment Manager

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