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BlackRock's COO said he gave his staff a memo written by ChatGPT and they couldn't tell AI wrote it

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan   

BlackRock's COO said he gave his staff a memo written by ChatGPT and they couldn't tell AI wrote it
  • BlackRock staff couldn't tell that that a strategy memo on AI was written by AI itself.
  • The company's COO Robert Goldstein told Fortune that his team used ChatGPT to write the memo.

Employees at the investment behemoth BlackRock couldn't tell that a strategy memo they were reading was actually written by ChatGPT, the company's COO said on Thursday.

BlackRock COO Robert Goldstein recounted the anecdote during an interview with Fortune's Lee Clifford. The pair were speaking at the outlet's Future of Finance conference in New York on May 16.

Goldstein said he'd worked with his team to prepare a memo on the company's generative AI strategy for a board meeting that took place "several months ago." But instead of drafting it themselves, Goldstein decided that the team should get ChatGPT to write the memo instead.

"So, we took what our strategy document was, and we fed it into ChatGPT with a very simple prompt. And that prompt was, 'Write an executive summary,'" Goldstein said. "So, it gave us a memo. And then we gave that memo to a bunch of people internally to read."

But no one could tell that the memo was produced by AI. Instead, Goldstein said the feedback he received mostly centered on the memo's tone.

"The comments were typically things like, 'I hate the tone.' The comments were like, 'I think you're selling yourself short,'" Goldstein said. "No one realized it was actually written by a computer."

"Couple of people when we told them it was written by a computer, they said, 'I don't like the computer's tone.' And I'm like, 'Well, you should take that up with the computer,'" he continued.

While the jury is still out on whether AI will be a boon or bane to the job market, BlackRock has been rather bullish about the promise of AI and how it can uplift its own fortunes.

Representatives for BlackRock didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

Last month, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in an earnings call that the company's investments in AI would bolster productivity.

"What it also means is rising wages," Fink told investors. "The whole organization is doing more with less people as a percent of the overall organization. That is really our ambition."

But not everyone is sold on AI's benefits.

On Monday, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned that AI could strike the job market "like a tsunami."

The IMF chief was delivering a speech at the Swiss Institute of International Studies in Zurich when she expounded on the uncertainty the AI revolution could bring.

"We have very little time to get people ready for it, businesses ready for it," Georgieva said. "It could bring tremendous increase in productivity if we manage it well, but it can also lead to more misinformation and, of course, more inequality in our society."

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