Helping front office teams grow better

Making AI a useful product - #363

This year, HubSpot, like seemingly all tech companies, has incorporated AI into its product line.

Don't feel like writing an email subject? Write the email, and AI will make a subject line for you.

Want to make a report but don't know how to do it? Write out an AI prompt, and it'll make a HubSpot report for you.

Having trouble describing your automations? Make the workflow and AI can write a description for you.

It all sounds good. But my mental image of AI being a somewhat useless intern still seems to explain most of its utility: it gives you something, which is not nothing, but you almost always need to heavily edit--often to the point of completely changing--what it drafts. It's like the intern that can't be trusted to actually do anything.

At this point, I dropped this message into our subject line generator. Here's how AI thinks this email could appear in your inbox:

HubSpot AI generates an email subject line

That's ... fine. But I'm going to need to re-do it to make it usable.

This lack of real utility makes me think AI, in its current "use cases," could be like the smart speaker bubble from a few years back. Cool technology, but wildly overblown in it's potential impact. Voice control didn't become the new UI and smart listening didn't become the new I/O: both became a nice little niche in how some people like to use in their devices. I liked this analogy so much, that I stole it from Ben Evans, whose essay is the first link below.

The second link for your attention this week is a really nice take-down of the AI executive order. I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but it's an excellent read and a fair critique of both this executive order and the executive order as a way of governing.

The AI subject line generator did a bit better at this point in the email. "AI: Overhyped or Overrated?" to which: why not both

Enjoy the reading!


Unbundling AI

ChatGPT and LLMs can do anything (or look like they can), so what can you do with them? How do you know? Do we move to chat bots as a magical general-purpose interface, or do we unbundle them back into single-purpose software? What are the products?



Regulating AI by Executive Order is the Real AI Risk

The President’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence is a premature and pessimistic political solution to unknown technical problems and a clear case of regulatory capture.