Since it launched in 2022, ChatGPT has taken much of the world by storm. Trending since late last year, ChatGPT has been used by people in both a personal and professional capacity for so many reasons - more than we could list here! Creative people are using the tool to streamline their work, reduce redundancy, and improve quality. You’d be surprised what ChatGPT can assist you with.
One of the best uses of ChatGPT is for organizing and optimizing email. Crowded inboxes are a part of life for most of us, but they are no longer something we must just live with. AI is revolutionizing our digital lives, and the next big improvement is email.
What is ChatGPT?
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a field of computer science that is focused on creating machines designed to execute tasks that would typically require human intelligence. Many experts call such technology “game-changing”; comparing AI to electricity, with AI being “the new electricity” capable of completely transforming a variety of industries. ChatGPT is currently the most recognizable of several AI models. But what is it, really?
The “GPT” stands for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer. The platform is a chatbot that was developed by OpenAI and launched in 2022. Quickly becoming a phenomenon throughout the world, ChatGPT is an AI language model that can process and respond to language in a human-like manner. It engages with its users as though they are participating in a conversation. Trained through model human conversations, it uses a huge database of written work from the internet. In simple terms, you can think of ChatGPT like a calculator for words, answering questions and responding to prompts with various forms of text and copy.
Users find that ChatGPT can produce impressive responses to a variety of instructions and prompts. That being said, it occasionally produces inaccurate information, misinterprets a question, or repeats phrases. It’s important that users understand how the tool ultimately works, along with its limitations. Innovative professionals must figure out the ways that ChatGPT can be most useful to them.
ChatGPT has become the world’s fastest growing app, even surpassing the growth of TikTok. This surprisingly capable AI model has the potential to revolutionize several industries. However, in this article, we are focusing on how it can revolutionize an over-burdened email inbox.
How ChatGPT Can Help with Email
If you’ve spent any time using ChatGPT at all, then you probably understand how it can help you to write emails faster and more easily. You can use the tool to create responses, or write difficult emails, or proofread a document that you’re sending to others. However, ChatGPT can actually do a lot more. In many ways, new technologies are using ChatGPT as a kind of virtual assistant to streamline your overall email usage. Use various AI models’ features to organize and manage your email inbox more effectively.
Here are some of the things savvy AI users are taking advantage of:
- Sort emails by sender or topic - Some AI language models have the ability to automatically categorize your emails based on the sender or topic. This makes it easier to find and respond to messages from specific people or pertaining to specific subjects. Similar to rules that you can set up on many platforms, you can use chatbots to organize email into files or folders for a cleaner inbox.
- Prioritize emails - AI tools can learn which emails are most important to you and prioritize them in your inbox, so you never miss out on an urgent message. Though some platforms already attempt to do this, it can be difficult for them to really “learn” which emails matter most to you. Tools powered by ChatGPT will use the information that it gains from your use to rank emails.
- Remove junk and spam - One of the best things that these tools can do is declutter your inbox, making it cleaner and more manageable. Use ChatGPT to identify and move spam or junk emails to a separate folder or delete them altogether. As the model learns more about which emails you consider junk, it will get smarter about removing them automatically.
- Create reminders for to-do lists - Many people struggle to translate the emails they get constantly into actionable tasks. It’s one thing to see email piling up; it’s another thing entirely when you know the bulk of those emails have a deadline or request attached to them. AI tools can help you to stay organized by creating reminders or to-do lists based on the content of your emails. This way you can properly file the emails while ensuring you don’t miss any important tasks or deadlines. Set reminders for an additional layer of protection against missing important dates.
- Respond to emails automatically - If the nature of your work means you constantly send the same email responses, you’ll save a lot of time by automating this process. ChatGPT can be used to respond to certain types of emails automatically. You can even keep a folder of email drafts that should be used in various scenarios. Compounded, these automatic responses will save you a lot of effort.
- Get insight and analytics - What are your email habits and patterns? Where can you improve efficiency and productivity? Or, maybe you just want a better understanding of how much time you spend on certain emails or discussing certain topics. Whatever insights you’re hoping to gain, programs based on ChatGPT can be used to investigate these areas and help you to optimize your general email use.
You’ll need to create an OpenAI account by going to chat.OpenAi.com and registering your email, and a Google or Microsoft account. Accept the terms and disclosures and then click next until you reach “done”.
Related Post: How to Use ChatGPT to Create a Resume
Is ChatGPT the Only Option for Email Organization with AI?
AI is everywhere, often without us even knowing it. The truth is that there has been a ton of product development using various AI models, across the entire spectrum of the digital landscape. ChatGPT is the one most people are familiar with, but there are plenty of tools out there that offer similar capabilities you want to be aware of. In fact, many of them are powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT programming.
For example, Shortwave is a product that organizes your inbox conversations with people and tucks away the rest into their own categories, such as "newsletters," "travel," and "purchases." It has an AI component that runs on GPT-3, the language model behind ChatGPT. Shortwave has a small cost associated (about $9 at the time of writing), and it works by summarizing email content in order to condense it for easier viewing. Each email has a “summarize” button at the top, and when selected the tool will “read” the email and produce a short summary (kind of like a TL;DR version). For example, if you get a detailed report including several facts and figures, you can ask the app to summarize and you’ll receive a 70-word digest of the report, pulling from its highlights. Generally, you’ll get enough information that you can understand the point without digging through the entire email.
Companies across the tech spectrum are looking for ways to capitalize on ChatGPT-like language models. Everyone from Microsoft to Google is searching for new ways to reduce mundane tasks and automate repetitive ones. New features allow the software to write people’s email for them, automatically generate meeting notes, and even haggle over bills on a customer’s behalf. For years, Gmail has offered tools that help you respond quickly to emails, and their auto-generated responses continue to get smarter and more relevant. Microsoft is set to add a summary tool to Outlook, and the startup Flowrite has used GPT-3 to compose entire emails for you.
Furthermore, AI's ability to consume lots of information and break it down will address some of the web's fundamental issues. It can automate routine tasks and lower the skill level required to use tools like photo-editing software. Additionally, you won’t have to navigate a list of links on a search engine to find exactly what you're looking for; a chatbot will fetch a relevant answer for you. Whether you want to grab citations for a research project or draft a couple social media posts, there’s an AI tool out there for that.
Simply put, AI will soon be coming to your inbox whether you mean for it to or not.
Caution: Limitations of AI
If you’re thinking all of this sounds too good to be true, there’s a good reason for that. Many experts are correctly skeptical about AI, pointing out some of the issues with the various tools.
One of the biggest considerations is the ethical gray area we could be entering by relying too much on AI language models or chatbots. When AI begins to communicate under the guise of humans, things are going to get tricky. There have been several sci-fi movies based on just this premise, and it can be impossible to tell whether you’re talking to a human or a bot. We need to give serious thought to the applications of AI and what that means for our communication models.
Additionally, high quality content should be created by humans for humans. For example, a well-written email has a few signals that show it was written by humans with some real thought behind it. Readers want to know that they took the time to understand the topic and that they care enough to write about it thoughtfully. If AI takes over, it can be easy to lose those signals. Furthermore, search engines can understand if content was written by a chatbot or a human. If you have dreams of populating your website with tons of keyword-rich content written by AI, think again. This could potentially hurt your search engine rankings and make you less visible online.
Like any technology, AI can run into bugs. For example, ChatGPT has been known to return inaccurate information or to leave important information out. It sometimes repeats itself, having the same sentence written in two different parts of a sample email. More problematic is the fact that text generation tools have a tendency to rely on the biases of their inputs. ChatGPT and Bing's chatbot have been known to "hallucinate" or incorporate the biases of the text they're trained on in answers. It’s important to remember that the content generated by chatbots is only as good as the inputs available, and those are bound to be incorrect or low quality sometimes. Furthermore, ChatGPT relies on a data set that ended in 2022, so any newer information beyond that period will not be included in anything returned by the tool. This means for particularly timely topics, information will not be up to date or accurate.
Finally, privacy is an important concern. By its nature, an AI chatbot uses the text that people place into the system to train AI models or inform future conversations. For example, ChatGPT released someone’s phone number (obviously without their consent). It didn’t do so nefariously, but it can’t react to scenarios in the same way and make decisions in the same way that humans would. Companies throughout the world - including OpenAI’s largest investor, Microsoft - have warned their employees not to share any personal data with ChatGPT. These issues are continuously being worked on though, and we can expect more robust solutions in the future. For example, the Shortwave tool we mentioned sends your email data to OpenAI, but never stores it. Regardless, though, it’s something to be conscious of when using these tools.
Related Article: Everything Wrong with Modern Email Apps
This is just the beginning when it comes to AI and ChatGPT in particular. We have yet to see what it will become and the ways that it will change our lives online. For now, enjoy a less cluttered inbox. In the future - who knows! To learn more about technology trends and the latest ways to do more with your day, make sure to follow our blog.