Recently, I was walking the family dog with a friend who is a well-respected technology expert, and we talked about our ideas and experiences with one of these AI tools, ChatGPT, which has dominated the news lately. ChatGPT is a chatbot that generates human-like responses to various prompts, and we had some fun testing the output to several heavy-content questions and seeing how ChatGPT dealt with these and our follow-up questions. 


ChatGPT has already become an enormous game changer, but when my friend told me about Auto-GPT, which automates task-oriented conversations and provides structured and specific responses, all without requiring human intervention, I was really blown away and confronted with a mind-boggling and pretty hard truth. My friend showed me how the agents from Auto-GPT worked with an assignment he gave, and he told me about a variety of new products and services now possible through this tool. Seeing the output and independent thinking and acting abilities of Auto-GPT gave me a very concrete picture of the potential AI has to change the way we work and our lives in general. 


The key to getting the most out of both ChatGPT and Auto-GPT, however, is the ability to pose the proper prompts. Without this, you’re facing the classic “garbage in, garbage out” problem. The same is true for many areas of life: Asking the right questions is the best way to get at the heart of a difficult decision or navigate the clutter of a multitude of choices. In my own experience, I’ve also found asking questions is often the simplest and most effective way of learning.


In the world of business, accounting and finance professionals can gain influence and advancement opportunities if we practice and perfect the art of asking the right questions. Having excellent communication and interpersonal skills helps as well, as does being cognizant of the needs of those who have a stake in the questions posed and answers given. On this subject, I was inspired by a recent Het Financieele Dagblad interview with Ellen Garvey-Das of Egon Zehnder, where she explained that modern leaders need to be able to listen to their stakeholders. In my view, active listening requires being open-minded, using all your senses, paying attention to verbal and nonverbal clues, and refraining from judgment. If you combine these listening skills with your ability to ask the right questions while also trusting your value system, you’ll be able to lead in the world of tomorrow.


With these words, I conclude my final Perspectives column as your IMA Chair. It has truly been an honor to serve as IMA’s volunteer leader this past year, and I hope to contribute to the profession in new ways once my term of service is done. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. Thank you.

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