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Beyond the prompt: the impact of artificial intelligence on 5 major industries

Remember ChatGPT’s explosive debut in late 2022? Since then, within a matter of months, artificial intelligence (AI) has astonished the world with brand-new, advanced applications that could upend life and work as we know them. 

It’s perfectly fine to have mixed feelings about all this—we still do! But we’re sure you didn’t just come here for a pep talk. So, here’s a prompt, if you will:

Say goodbye to the janky chatbots of yore, and imagine what you and your customers could achieve with AI as it is now: a multipurpose technology with tremendous practical capabilities. Getting to grips with the new generation of AI in its early days is the fastest way to understand its impact on your business and broader industry. 

Last updated

13 Jun 2023

Reading time

9 min


The past decade has seen AI—the simulation of human intelligence that enables a machine or computer program to learn, solve problems, and interact with its environment—become embedded in our daily lives. But ChatGPT and other generative AI systems usher in a new era. 

This assistive technology makes skills like copywriting and coding significantly easier for anyone who can type the right prompts. At the same time, it has the power to transform entire business processes. 

We’ve gathered insights across five industries that were early adopters of AI technology to help you visualize what a business like yours could ultimately achieve. We also look at the pros and cons of AI, and practical ways you can start using AI right now to grow your business.

  1. Creative industries

  2. Software and technology

  3. Health care

  4. Ecommerce

  5. Digital marketing

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Before you keep reading: this article is part of a content marketing experiment Hotjar's Content team is currently running.

We've published a rival article on the same topic, written by ChatGPT: "Exploring AI's impact on retail, technology, and marketing: from disruption to innovation."

Check out both versions and let us know which one you find more interesting, helpful, and informative using the Hotjar Feedback widget—it’s that red tag to the right of your screen. We’ll share the results (and some of your quotes!) when the experiment ends.

1. Creative industries

Can machines be as creative as humans? OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, dares to say yes with the recent release of GPT-4, dubbed its most advanced system yet. Users can tap into the large language model via a ChatGPT Plus subscription and have the chatbot write a broad range of content pieces, from poems and captions to essays and screenplays.

Ever evolving: OpenAI’s side-by-side comparison between ChatGPT, which uses GPT-3.5, and GPT-4, highlighting the latter’s advanced reasoning capabilities

Besides written content, AI-based tools showcase their prowess in other creative fields like music, the visual arts, photography, and videography. 

Jukebox, ChatGPT’s lesser-known cousin, generates music (as raw audio) from scratch when given input, such as artist and genre. Meanwhile, German artist Mario Klingemann leads the AI art movement, with neural networks, code, and algorithms as his preferred tools.

Mario Klingemann’s ‘Love Wound’ (2021), created using his AI algorithm Botto

None of these technologies and techniques are perfect, but some can produce high-quality work—at scale and in real time. This brings us to the burning question… 👇

Will bots replace artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives?

With the possibility of artificial intelligence creating custom shows on demand, many creatives find themselves questioning the future of their craft. For instance, the Writers Guild of America okays the use of AI as a tool, but wants to ensure studios don't use it to replace writers (a concern that has come to the fore in the current and ongoing labor dispute).

Similarly, music industry professionals are concerned about AI plagiarizing songs and mimicking singers—and it becomes a wider problem for society when machines churn out content with false or misleading information.

An example of AI-powered imitation: a YouTube video featuring a computer-generated voice rapping to Shakespeare in the style of Jay-Z

On the other hand, artists like Klingemann believe machines have the ability to create unique portraits the more you train them, making them better at telling new stories. And because they rid us of the mechanical pressure to produce, humans can use AI to take their own creativity to the next level. 

At best, AI can be a brilliant collaborator rather than an intimidating competitor.

2. Software and technology

Machine learning can play a central role in information technology companies, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. This type of AI enables applications to learn from historical data and accurately predict outcomes without explicit programming: developers can simply write instructions for these tasks. 

In this way, AI automates certain tasks and frees programmers to focus on those requiring human insight. Examples of the latter include analyzing trends in customer behavior and patterns in business operations, and boosting new product development. (Here at Hotjar, for example, we've just introduced Hotjar AI for our Surveys tool.)

Alongside automation, SaaS firms can rely on AI to amplify their performance in the following areas so they can effectively meet their users’ needs:

  • Personalization: AI-powered personalization usually starts with chatbots handling routine customer queries, allowing support agents to address more complex issues. It also involves analyzing vast amounts of user data and tailoring user interfaces to the individual.

An AI chatbot in action on HubSpot’s website

  • Predictive analytics: combine machine learning with data mining techniques and statistical modeling to uncover user insights. This lets you forecast churn, enhance the user experience, and trigger actions when the user shows disengagement.

  • Quality assurance (QA) testing: if AI writing snippets of code seems iffy, try AI that checks your coding instead. Run tests using these tools to release your product to target users fast. 

  • Cloud security: AI-based cloud security can automate threat detection. It’s possible to replicate and learn from new security threats without constantly relying on human input. 

What the industry leaders are up to

With ChatGPT and other foundational models building a compelling case for generative AI—which actually falls into a class of machine learning—tech giants are rushing to integrate the system into their products.

The new Bing version, fueled by AI, does more than return search query results

Microsoft launched its GPT-4-powered search engine, Bing, then added new AI features, called Copilot, to popular Microsoft 365 products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

Amid this play of catchup, Google recently announced that Search would display AI-generated results to select users in the United States soon—this is on top of the company’s push to prioritize AI-related projects.

3. Health care

The effects of AI have also reached the medical realm, although the majority of use cases, from diagnosing patients to discovering new potential drugs, remain confined in research labs. 

Of course—and yet again—ChatGPT’s arrival has made reality much more interesting. Some physicians reportedly seek assistance from the AI chatbot in writing clinical summaries and brainstorming diagnosis ideas. 

We can also look at the less contentious area of administrative AI. Administrators incorporating AI systems into their workflows is now plausible, and is vastly needed in this space. For example, the technology can reduce the estimated 16 hours required to complete the prior authorization process with a health plan provider.

The AI prescription dilemma

Remember: AI systems are not entirely error-free (anyone who’s had a conversation with ChatGPT can attest to this). In some cases, a bot may provide inaccurate information during diagnosis. This is where a practitioner is expected to exercise caution and lean on their expertise. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Johns Hopkins University had a robot perform surgery with high precision and success and minimal human intervention, signifying a big step toward automating surgery on humans using AI.

These are just a few examples of high-stakes situations illustrating potential successes and drawbacks of AI. As with other industries, health care should welcome this technology with eyes wide open. The best way to move forward is to balance the promising benefits with sobering thoughts on the ethical and professional implications. 

4. Ecommerce

As part of the digital revolution, the ecommerce industry knows how to harness machine learning to capture customer behavior data and optimize the buying experience. Specifically, online companies have found AI solutions to be beneficial in: 

  • Personalizing online shopping: recommendation engines rely on AI algorithms to showcase products based on individual browsing history and preferences, enhancing the customer journey and driving engagement

  • Combating credit card fraud: AI capabilities can track and analyze usage patterns, ensuring secure transactions

  • Detecting fake online reviews and items: online marketplaces can use AI tools to verify the information and maintain the integrity of customer feedback and their inventory

  • Engaging customers: ubiquitous AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots provide real-time support, answer queries, and assist customers at every stage of the funnel

Time and again, Amazon has shown how to use machine learning algorithms to keep customers and stakeholders happy. Its shopper-focused recommendations have become the model other online stores follow. 

This AI-powered feature makes product suggestions based on users’ browsing history and past purchases. A simplified example is how Amazon would display pet supplies and accessories if a customer appears to be looking for food for their fur babies.  

Another company tapping into AI is 3PM Solutions. This Chicago start-up uses machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze millions of listings daily and spot and remove counterfeits automatically. It also protects marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.com by detecting prohibited items and keeping them compliant with regulators.

In a post-ChatGPT world, the ecommerce space can look forward to even more breakthroughs, such as improved product search capabilities, elevated customer service through natural language processing, and immersive shopping experiences with the integration of augmented reality.

5. Digital marketing

Marketers are no strangers to staying ahead of trends, so the buzz around AI may not come as a surprise. However, witnessing its tangible impact on nearly every aspect of their job can still feel surreal.

AI-based applications have streamlined content creation, with teams tapping ChatGPT to craft social media posts, blog pieces, sales pitches, and video advertising scripts. Editing tools like Grammarly have AI features that further enhance the quality of these drafts. 

Craft a prompt and wait for Microsoft Designer to produce a selection of relevant images

Additionally, graphic design has also evolved with the likes of Canva and, recently, Microsoft Designer, which instantly generates stunning visual designs.

The human-machine collaboration

Predictive analytics is another game-changer: AI algorithms empower marketers to uncover hidden patterns, identify untapped opportunities, and make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis. This optimization allows them to effectively refine campaigns and allocate resources, ultimately leading to a better return on investment.

But while AI truly shines in analytics and personalization, it cannot fully replicate the personal touch needed to connect with customers. Uniquely human qualities, such as empathy, compassion, and storytelling, still play a crucial role here.

It’s marketers’ responsibility to discover innovative ways to blend these qualities with AI and build genuine brand-customer relationships that go beyond algorithms.

The ‘Age of AI’: 100 years more of machines and technology transforming businesses

Besides industries, we can also acknowledge the AI impact on three economic activities, which global management firm McKinsey has grouped into ‘buckets’. Among these areas, an array of new tools and machines revolutionized production over a century ago.

Technology has advanced and brought about many changes since. And artificial intelligence is the next step in this quest for augmenting and automating human labor—transforming not just one but all of the areas we’ve mentioned.

How to approach AI tools like ChatGPT to boost your business

The impact of artificial intelligence differs for each of the five industries on our list. But they also share a few significant points, particularly when it comes to:

Opportunities and advantages 

Yes, AI can take over jobs. But one thing that barely gets airtime is the way it helps upskill people at scale. For instance, ChatGPT enables non-writers or non-marketers to write clearly and effectively. More and more individuals can hone their communication skills, which may be necessary for their work.

Meanwhile, the integration of AI can push companies to create new systems, business models, and positions to fill (e.g. visual artists becoming data curators in the AI art movement). The landscape for marketing, ecommerce, healthcare, SaaS, or creative industries may look significantly different five years from now.

Challenges and disadvantages

Remember: AI tech is not new. It's been around for decades and has infiltrated our lives in ways we don't even consider anymore. The fast development and massive adoption of the latest class of AI tools suggest it won’t be long before the same thing happens again. 

For a business to incorporate AI smoothly and tackle its challenges effectively, gaining proper perspective is crucial.

Instead of replacing human labor, think about augmenting it. This involves enhancing people’s capabilities and skills through AI integration. And it goes beyond simply transferring tasks from humans to machines, but rather aims to empower the former to achieve higher productivity and efficiency levels.

Lastly, be focused and strategic about AI applications. Ask yourself: what specific business problems do you want to solve, and can AI provide value in those areas? This requires a careful analysis of your needs and objectives, alongside understanding the potential benefits and limitations of AI technology.

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