Digital automation and predictive technology have been maturing for decades, but their potential was often seen as a futuristic fantasy. OpenAI, a research company backed by Microsoft, launched ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, and it brought futuristic fantasy into reality. ChatGPT (or Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer), is a Chatbot that provides answers to a variety of questions using a large language model (LLM), which is capable of generating text on a seemingly endless range of topics. It is considered the most robust Generative AI application in the global technology market. An LLM uses deep learning techniques and massively large data sets to understand, summarize, generate, and predict new content.
The Vision and Mission of OpenAI and ChatGPT
The vision and mission behind OpenAI and ChatGPT was to “ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all of humanity, primarily by attempting to build safe AGI and share the benefits with the world.” OpenAI LP was founded in 2015 and is a “capped-profit” research company. Capped profit means the company increased the ability to raise capital, allowing investors and employees to receive a capped return if the companies succeed. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief, said on Twitter that ChatGPT had more than one million users in the first five days after it launched. According to analysis by Swiss bank UBS, ChatGPT is the fastest-growing app of all time. The vision so far has proven accurate, with 1 billion visits in February 2023, and 1.6 billion (yes, billion) visits in March 2023. As a comparison, TikTok took nine months to hit the 1M number; and Instagram took two and a half years. It’s pretty safe to say the future is now.
What is The Connection Between ChatGPT and RPA, AI, & ML?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) all solve the same business use cases, which is automating the tasks and processes that humans do in order to remove excess resources, and improve efficiencies. ChatGPT can answer properly phrased questions and assist with tasks such as composing emails, letters, essays, and code. In healthcare, ChatGPT can work with RPA to streamline some of the processes, reduce errors, and improve efficiencies. Think of ChatGPT as the thought or idea, and RPA as the action. Our Senior Solutions Developer, Rhonda Feldbauer, gave it a spin. “I asked ChatGPT to show me VBA code that returns the name of the oldest file in a folder. Here’s the prompt and ChatGPT’s response:”
Give me VBA code that will return the name of the oldest file in a given folder.
“This is what it returned, and it was right on the money!” Here’s an example code that demonstrates this:
Function GetOldestFileNameInFolder(FolderPath As String) As String
Dim OldestFile As String
Dim OldestDate As Date
Dim FileName As String
Dim FileDate As Date
‘ Initialize the oldest file and date
OldestFile = “”
OldestDate = Date
‘ Check if the folder path ends with a backslash, if not, add one
If Right(FolderPath, 1) <> “\” Then
FolderPath = FolderPath & “\”
‘ Loop through each file in the folder
FileName = Dir(FolderPath & “*.*”)
Do While FileName <> “”
‘ Check if the current file is older than the current oldest file
FileDate = FileDateTime(FolderPath & FileName)
If FileDate < OldestDate Then
OldestFile = FileName
OldestDate = FileDate
‘ Get the next file
FileName = Dir
‘ Return the name of the oldest file
GetOldestFileNameInFolder = OldestFile
In the months ahead, Microsoft is bringing ChatGPT to its Microsoft 365 suite of products. Microsoft “Copilot” will be integrated into Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. Here are a few of the things it can do:
- Write, edit, and summarize text in Word
- Create PowerPoints using natural language commands
- Uncover insights, analyze trends, and create data in Excel
- Manage your inbox in Outlook
- Generate real-time summaries and create actionable tasks during Teams meetings
It is not available yet, and pricing is unclear, but availability is scheduled for sometime this summer.
Vendors Will Leverage GPT Models to Simplify Tech Adoption
Our VP of Technical Services, Thom C. Blackwell, states, “If you have specific VBA code scenarios in mind, it makes sense to try ChatGPT. It does require setting up an account. Boston Software Systems is providing no warranty regarding the accuracy, availability, or security related to ChatGPT. It’s something we’ve played around with and found that it can provide good code IF you are specific about what you want. Be sure to say VBA or Visual Basic for Applications in your question.”
Here’s an example:
- VBA example to format date 12/1/22 to 12/01/2022
- List files in a directory VBA
- Write to SQLServer VBA
Although OpenAI has made vast improvements to its latest model, GPT-4 still has quite a few limitations. Microsoft acknowledged that it can still make “simple reasoning errors” or be “overly gullible in accepting obvious false statements from a user,” because it does not fact check. OpenAI’s CEO acknowledged “it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now.”
The Bottom Line
ChatGPT is only 5 months old. It is powerful and quick to impress, but it is currently in its infancy. It was trained on all types of internet text like Wikipedia, blog posts, books, and academic articles. In addition to responding to you in a human-like way, it can recall present information from today’s world or go back to the archives and pull up historical information. There are quite a few limitations in its understanding. It cannot understand sarcasm or humor, or subtle nuances in the human language. ChatGPT arrives at an answer by making a series of guesses, which is part of the reason it can argue wrong answers as if they were completely true.
ChatGPT isn’t always correct—at least, not yet. It has provided some terrible answers that discriminate against things like gender, race, and minority groups.
We may be able to integrate ChatGPT into an electronic health record (EHR) system to optimize the data entry process, or to write narratives, but because of the biases that are baked into the current model (and the room for error), healthcare will always need oversight and clinical validation. The newest model, GPT-4, has exhibited human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks. OpenAI is releasing GPT-4’s text input capability via ChatGPT and the API. There is a waitlist if you’re interested.
Boston Software Systems
Boston Software Systems has been in the healthcare RPA business for 35 years. We’ve seen a lot of “cool” technology come with challenges and barriers. This is merely the start of our conversations around this new and exciting technology. ChatGPT and RPA have the potential to improve the delivery of care, and the ease of patient communication and engagement. Automation represents the proven first step. As an industry, we will all work on the next steps, which includes how to operationalize, regulate, and secure tools like ChatGPT so that they can continue to help humans save time and improve efficiencies with value, consistency, and additional governance.