Implications of ChatGPT on Energy Workforce and Training

Implications of ChatGPT on Energy Workforce and Training

If you haven’t heard of ChatGPT by now you might be living under a rock, or at least that’s how I felt at the end of February when ChatGPT hit my radar. Since its launch November 30, 2022, ChatGPT is the assistant everyone’s talking about.

What is ChatGPT?

Chat Generative Pretrained Transformer (ChatGPT), is a chatbot and generative AI language tool launched by OpenAI in November 2022. It is built on natural language algorithms and is the most advanced iteration of natural language processing.

How Does it Work?

ChatGPT is as simple as a conversation. You ask the chatbot a question and ChatGPT responds with a human-like response. OpenAI, the research and deployment company that launched ChatGPT says, “We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”

Just for fun, for this article, I decided to ask ChatGPT what it is, and see if it could write the article for me. See my conversation with ChatGPT, and the response to my question, “What is ChatGPT?” below under “Implications for Energy.”

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI, designed to generate natural language responses to user inputs. It was trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate responses that are often coherent and relevant to the input it receives.

ChatGPT is capable of engaging in conversations on a wide range of topics, from general knowledge questions to more specialized domains like science, technology and the arts. It can also understand and respond to natural language inputs, allowing for more fluid and human-like interactions.

One of the benefits of using ChatGPT is its ability to generate responses quickly, making it useful for tasks like customer support and automated chatbots. However, it’s important to keep in mind that ChatGPT is still an AI model and may not always provide accurate or reliable information. It’s always a good idea to double-check important information with other sources.

Overall, ChatGPT represents a powerful tool for generating natural language responses and engaging in conversations on a wide range of topics.

Applications for ChatGPT?

ChatGPT can be used in an assortment of ways including to answer questions, summarize text, and classify content. According to Gartner, in an article titled, “Your 7 Biggest ChatGPT Questions, Answered,” there are four main ways to deploy the ChatGPT technology.

  • As-is: Inputting prompts and receiving results via the web-based interface. This is by far the most popular approach today.
  • Prompt engineering without APIs: Prompt engineering refers to the use of a service like ChatGPT in conjunction with other technologies, as part of a workflow. You can create this workflow manually or by using screen scrape and robotic process automation (RPA) technologies.
  • Prompt engineering using APIs: This model is not yet available, but it is expected to debut by the middle of the year. While you may find solutions that enable an API wrapper around ChatGPT, we don’t recommend them for production builds or scale, and OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, does not support them.
  • Custom build: It is possible to create a custom build of the core GPT2/GPT3 or other foundation model for a bespoke implementation, but you would lose the conversational interaction or prompt filtering provided by ChatGPT.

Implications of ChatGPT on workforce?

Advances in artificial intelligence inevitably lead to conversations that speculate workforce impact. Will ChatGPT and artificial intelligence automate millions of jobs out of existence thereby leading to a displacement of workers or will it be used to improve efficiency and employee engagement? In the words of my friend Tisha Schuller, “both things are true.” ChatGPT has the ability to automate routine processes and allow employees to focus on more strategic tasks. Another benefit of ChatGPT is that it can enhance communication by providing a convenient channel for questions and concerns.

Implications of ChatGPT on Training

As a training organization, SGA is always focused on training trends and opportunities. ChatGPT could be a game changer for training. As a training tool, ChatGPT can be used to teach and answer questions in an interactive and engaging way. How might we use ChatGPT to train the natural gas workforce and keep them up to date on best practices?

ChatGPT can operate like your librarian, helping employees to find specific training materials. This would benefit the employee and the company by quickly directing them to relevant training materials, answer common questions and offer a personalized learning experience.

In terms of training, ChatGPT would shift training from “how to do” to “how to find” framework. It would then be up to the employee or the organization to translate into how that would provide value for the organization.

What about soft skills? Can ChatGPT help you formulate a plan to address conflict and communicate the “why” behind your decisions? Or build relationships? No. Those skills and the creativity, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills that are needed to deal with other human beings, still need to be taught by human beings.

Implications for Energy

As with any technology there are pros and cons. There are also complexities that must be considered and navigated,

One of the biggest challenges the natural gas industry faces is an unflattering narrative. Everywhere you turn from activists, to mainstream media and even our President, we are inundated with messages of “fossil fuel” is yesterday’s energy. In fact, our own industry uses the word “transition” instead of “evolution,” subtly reinforcing the narrative that as a primary source of energy, it’s on its way out. Now we have ChatGPT in the mix opining on fossil fuel. In the words of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, sometimes I feel like I’ve got “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right and I’m stuck in the middle.”

Just to see what response I would get, I asked my pal C-GPT and queried, “What are the benefits of fossil fuels?” Here is the response.

Fossil fuels have been the primary source of energy for human civilization for centuries, and they still provide a significant amount of the world’s energy needs today. Here are some of the benefits of using fossil fuels for creating energy:

  1. Availability: Fossil fuels are abundant and widely distributed throughout the world. This makes them easily accessible and a reliable source of energy for many countries.
  2. Cost-effective: Fossil fuels are relatively inexpensive to extract, process, and transport, making them a cost-effective option for energy production.
  3. Reliability: Fossil fuel power plants can operate around the clock and can be quickly ramped up or down to meet changing energy demands. This makes them a reliable source of energy for base-load power.
  4. Efficiency: Fossil fuel power plants are highly efficient, with modern plants achieving efficiencies of up to 50 percent. This means that a high percentage of the energy in the fuel is converted into electricity.
  5. Energy density: Fossil fuels have a high energy density, meaning that a small amount of fuel can generate a large amount of energy. This makes them ideal for powering large-scale industrial processes and transportation.
  6. Infrastructure: There is already a well-established infrastructure in place for the production, transportation, and distribution of fossil fuels. This makes it easier and more cost-effective to continue using them as a source of energy.

It’s worth noting that while fossil fuels have many benefits for energy production, they also have significant environmental and health impacts. Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases and air pollutants that contribute to climate change and can harm human health. As such, many countries are looking to transition away from fossil fuels toward cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy.

It did better than I expected, but still missed the technology and innovation that will be part of a sustainable energy future such as CCS and RNG. Further, it omitted the benefits of LNG for other countries. Now imagine a general public who is already indoctrinated to the “evils” of fossil fuel, sourcing their information about energy from an easy to access 24/7 bot with limited or even flawed technical knowledge. Taking it one step further, what if this tool is used to propagate a false narrative.

In an article published in Forbes, I talk about “How to Transverse Polarized Conversations.” “Today’s voices are loud and sometimes unyielding. They are entrenched in their position. We find our neighbors, friends and family ready to go to the mat over politics, the environment, diversity and other topics of passion. People are dividing themselves into categories, drawing lines in the sand, making it increasingly challenging to collaborate for mutually beneficial outcomes.”

Another consideration for natural gas is cybersecurity. As our industry navigates a plethora of bad actors, both domestic and foreign, ChatGPT will create pressure on cyber defenses.

Finally, it will be important to think about BOT detection. There is bot detection software to filter correspondence. This is important as we all do more with less so that employee time is not wasted on bot generated content.

I’ll close this Enlightenment Moment with advice from the ChatGPT on how to navigate polarized questions about fossil fuel.

“Conversations about fossil fuels can often be polarized, with people holding strongly held beliefs and differing opinions about the role of fossil fuels in our energy mix.” Here are some tips for navigating polarized conversations on fossil fuels:

  1. Listen and understand. Try to understand the other person’s point of view and their reasoning for their beliefs. Ask open-ended questions to better understand their perspective.
  2. Use evidence-based arguments. Use facts and scientific evidence to support your arguments. This can help to reduce emotional responses and create a more constructive conversation.
  3. Avoid personal attacks. Don’t attack the person you are talking to or their character. This can make the conversation more polarized and less productive.
  4. Look for common ground. Identify areas where you and the other person can agree, and build from there. Finding common ground can help to reduce tensions and move the conversation forward.
  5. Be respectful. Treat the other person with respect, even if you disagree with them. This can help to create a more positive and productive conversation.
  6. Stay calm. Try to remain calm and avoid getting defensive or angry. This can help to keep the conversation constructive and focused on the issues.
  7. Be open-minded. Be willing to listen to new information and perspectives. This can help to broaden your understanding of the issues and lead to more productive conversations.

Remember, polarized conversations can be challenging, but they also provide an opportunity to learn and grow. By listening, using evidence-based arguments, avoiding personal attacks, looking for common ground, being respectful, staying calm, and being open-minded, you can navigate these conversations in a constructive way.

Author profile

Southern Gas Association (SGA) CEO Suzanne Ogle provides perspective on policy, legislation and current events, as well as ideation that looks at the natural gas industry holistically (instead of just from the perspective of a producer, transporter or distributor) in order to spotlight the interconnectedness of the industry. In general, Ogle seeks to expand the energy conversation and help educate people on a realistic way to have an energy future that includes the use of natural gas as a way to lower emissions and address the energy needs of underserved populations. SGA is the largest regional natural gas association and the only U.S. association supporting all sectors of the industry. It prioritizes innovation and providing reliable, affordable energy to Americans. With a focus on inclusion, safety and community, SGA is a team of problem solvers finding new ways to deliver clean energy and protect the environment. They recognize that natural gas is woven into the functions of society and plays a crucial role in a sustainable energy future.

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