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What is GEN AI- Generative Artificial Intelligence?

As always, let’s start with a story!

What is GEN AI - Generative Artificial Intelligence. Explaining AI to my parents. A story by
Disclaimer: This story has ‘not been’ generated with AI. However, the poster above ‘has been’ generated with AI!

Tanya runs a high-end boutique where she designs customized clothing for her customers. The boutique also helps the customers find the right bags, shoes, jewelry & other accessories to compliment the designer wear as well as draping services if required. Since the boutique is providing end-to-end services, they are more like private couture consultants to their customers and are expected to know about their preferences, personalities etc. in detail.

Tanya has trained Laura, Mark & Rita to be design assistants/ advisors to these customers. These trained assistants are the backbone of Tanya’s business and also the biggest challenge. Since the job of these assistants involves relationship building, thorough analysis of customer’s preferences & self-image along with occasion aspects,, they have to run a product business with the sensibilities of a services business, a tough road to walk indeed. It takes a few months or more for a new hire to internalize the ethos of the business and be able to provide a satisfactory service/product to the customers. However, as assistants get fully trained and confident, in a year or two, most of them are either poached by bigger businesses or they want to use the learnings to start their own little enterprise. Even the ones who stay, are not always available to the customers at their convenient timings sometimes because of family commitments, health, and more such reasons.

So, despite establishing a niche enterprise that can boast of premium customers & facilities; Tanya is under constant stress because of shortage of trained design assistants. It seems like she’s been training design assistants for eternity and still has no help in hand when a premium customer is at the door.

Looks like her worries are about to get over… one fine day a harmless-looking, simpleton called KIA (aka Know It All), entered her boutique, looking for a job. She was desperate to get employed, even at low wages, even free of cost for a few days on trial! The idea of getting free help was enticing and Tanya kept her as an intern without payment for a few days.

And what a blessing she was! 

KIA (Know It All) could fit into almost anyone’s shoes in no time. Tanya provided KIA data about past customers, their preferences, and other details so that she could understand them better and KIA perfected herself in decoding their buying behaviour with few verbal prompts or cues. Next, she was asked to source fabrics and accessories for particular clients. KIA followed the instructions verbatim, without a hint of personal judgment, and could source just what the customer wanted. Now, Tanya wanted to retain KIA at any cost, so she offered her an even better salary than her trained assistants so that she wouldn’t think of leaving. And KIA promised, she would never leave and make herself available on a click, 24X7! Gradually KIA improved her work in all aspects. 

Looks like KIA has a special gene called ML (Machine Learning) in her DNA.

What is so special about ML?

ML (Machine Learning) gives KIA the capacity to constantly learn from her actions. So whenever she came across a new way of solving a problem and customers were happy with it, she would add this to her notes. Similarly, if another method/result, made customers unhappy, she would delete it from her working style repository for that particular customer. You see, she doesn’t keep stuck at the original training she was provided. Her way of working on a task (algorithm) keeps updating on its own, with every interaction with a customer. In simple words, she is constantly learning and improving! So every time, KIA was able to bring more satisfactory results for customers as compared to other assistants in the boutique. She was getting better every day and there was no limit to how much better she could get!

Confusing? Let’s explain it with an example.

Customer (a rather difficult one): I want a unique, trendy dress for my big day. It should reflect my personality and go with the trend! I don’t want to look repetitive or out of place. The dress should be beyond my imagination, should break the internet. It should generate more hits on my social media profile than that expensive wedding the whole world is talking about!

Laura: Would you like to give some more pointers about what exactly you are looking for?

Customer: Seriously? I have given you a paragraph full of description. If this is not enough, How can you call yourself trained for hi-fashion?

Mark: Oh, I know what you mean. We can adapt something from that social-media-breaking met gala look and adapt it to our signature green and auburn. It would be a win-win combination and everyone is going to talk about it for sure!

Customer: But didn’t you hear me out? I want something unique and non-repetitive! Do you think green and auburn will go with my skin tone? I want the design to be known as ‘my dress’ and not ‘your design label’.  

Now KIA is thinking (running through her algorithm), The customer is looking for something that blends with and augments her personality. But how to decode her personality?  Let me quickly look at her social media pages. Oh, it looks like she has always had a mind of her own, bravely commenting on all kinds of controversial issues. Surely she doesn’t want to fit in a mould. Her pictures in certain colours and vertical paneling have garnered more attention than other lovely outfits. Let me also look at this year’s colour and silhouette forecast along with her figure type, skin tone details. It takes KIA only a few seconds to dig into her data bank and analyse this situation. In less than a minute, she has produced a sketch with the perfect combination of colours, silhouettes, hairstyle and accessories to compliment it all….and yes it is trendy yet unique!

What do you think would be the customer’s reaction? Of course, she was impressed by KIA’s speed and detailed observation. KIA became her favourite design consultant from that day, bringing more business to Tanya. And KIA, as always added these notes to her repository of tips for social media frenzied customers.

It is not just analysis that KIA is good at, she is a complete package. She can process information very fast, never gets tired, is always available, doesn’t ask for leaves, handles more volume of work than any other assistant, and does not let her personal opinions impact the customer’s ideas. But most importantly, she has trained herself to think from different perspectives. If her customer was a lawyer, she would think like a lawyer and suggest something a lawyer would like to wear and if her customer was a party animal, she could think and suggest like one. What else can an employer ask for?

Tanya asked KIA if she could get more assistants like her for the boutique. Fortunately, KIA’s mother, AI (Artificial Intelligence) has many daughters & sons and all of them have been trained with the same finesse and perfection. So she brought not one but many! There was Chatty, Cloudy, Geni, Leonardia and many more. Some of them were super trained in one specific art like writing product descriptions or creating pictures out of verbal description as if giving expression to your dreams. None of the boutique’s traditionally trained assistants could work with half the efficiency of AI siblings. Of course, now Tanya was tempted to employ the AI siblings, even at a high cost.

What is GEN AI? How is GEN AI different from traditional AI?

Now, let’s use this story to understand the technical terms. KIA as you would have gathered by now is a Gen AI platform. So how is she different from her mother, AI (artificial intelligence)? Traditional AI was trained to ‘think like humans’; Gen AI can also, ‘express like humans’!

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GEN AI), is the next generation of AI and is capable of ‘generating’ human-like responses to the given situations. Mother AI has been trained to do human-like tasks, so she could also dig deep into customer data and figure out the said customer’s likes and dislikes. However, GEN AI can take a step further and present the solution in a more empathetic, human-like language to the customer which is obviously more convincing! As we all know, communication is a very powerful tool. Gen AI doesn’t just deduce information or solutions, it provides this deduced information in a very human-like way, making due note of the perspectives!


What is the relation between NLP, LLM & GEN AI?

And how does Gen AI do that? The secret sauce she has been nurtured on is NLP & LLM.

Gen AI platforms have been trained for Natural Language Processing tasks (NLP). To be able to do that they have been trained on Large Language Models (LLM). Some of these LLMs have been built on 100 billions of parameters, so they are capable of placing information in multiple contexts, deducing the most suitable answer for each context, and presenting that answer in different words every time. This means Gen AI platform can almost imagine the language a particular customer is seeking, like knowing your master better with time (Did we say ‘imagine’, yes, a trait that was used to differentiate humans from animals so far; and machines are acing it now). This means, that if KIA gets 5 similar customers during the day (just a hypothetical situation), and she has the same solution for all 5 of them; she can still phrase her suggestion in 5 different ways, keeping in mind the behavioural characteristics of each customer. So effectively, she would never repeat herself! 

This also means, that if she somehow gets a humanoid form (which can be a reality soon), in all possibilities, she might never get picked up to be a machine and can play ‘being human’ forever…well almost.

Can GEN AI cause job losses?

But what would happen to Laura, Mark and Rita? You are right, they feel they will lose their job any day now. And they are absolutely correct. Since the coming of AI sisters, all three original design assistants have been trying hard to improve their game. They spent time in training themselves in new methods of business, worked for longer hours etc. However, whatever they do, they are not able to match up with the Godly abilities of AI assistants for the simple reason that, ’humans have human limitations’ and it looks like ‘Gen AI has no limitations’...well so far!

So what are the implications? Does this mean that all the Lauras, Marks & Ritas of the world will become jobless? The prospect is a far-fetched one, but not completely baseless…..unless they devise a plan!

What is the way forward for society with GEN AI?

Are we calling it a ‘crisis in making’? Is it because it will take away human jobs and will lead to large-scale unemployment? This is precisely the stuff they said at the time heavy machines were first invented or when computers first came into the public domain. But none of this proved to be true. Industrial and computer revolutions led to advancements that provided better economic prospects for everyone, so why give the same old logic?

Let’s not forget, howsoever advanced a machine or computer was, it needed people to operate. The machine had to be operated, monitored, and even manipulated by humans to give desirable results. Even better, computers and other machines become obsolete at some point in time & have to be constantly upgraded or replaced. So the jobs they removed at one end were more than compensated in designing, producing & repairing them.

But, this is not the case with AI. Artificial Intelligence has the human-like ability to get better with time, only at a much higher speed. So basically, once launched, AI is self-propagating. It does not need humans to operate & manage it anymore. It will also produce better versions of its own. Remember it is already thinking faster & better than humans…what next?

So how can we mitigate these threats? Denying, and ignoring will not stop AI in its tracks. It’s out there already. Laura, Mark & Rita might find it suitable to leave this job and find another one where there is no threat of AI taking over. For now, maybe they will find one! But for how long? There will be an AI competitor everywhere, sooner or later. What Laura, Mark and Rita should not forget, they still have something KIA doesn’t have, i.e., human touch! After all, their customers are humans, not machines. Can they forever be contended interacting with machines? Although, it would not be a bad idea to use the intelligence delivered by Gen AI for deducing solutions and utilise human capabilities for the application of these solutions. So use AI, but keep it in the background, do not let it take over. It would be a better solution for Tanya to empower her human design assistants with KIA and help them improve their interaction with the customer instead of replacing them with KIA. 

The only option left for us to save ourselves from this is a paradigm shift. As a society, we have long rewarded ‘machine-like’ behaviour over ‘human empathy’. Now that machines have claimed their space neatly, all institutions - social or commercial, will have to reignite a passion for ‘being human’. Although translating that into daily operations will be a challenge, different for each institution. Instead of dreading AI, it would help if we work alongside it, utilizing its benefits to augment outcomes, and keeping a tab on it as well.

So far, this seems to be the only road to survival…well, till we know better!

Did the story set you thinking….? Our readers would be happy to read your comments, experiences, and suggestions in the comment box below! You could also shower a few stars on us if you find us worthy!

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Loved reading it. Simplified a technical topic using everyday analogies, thereby making the complex idea accessible to layman also.



Excellent article.... explains lot of things about the nebulous terms associated with artificial intelligence



Very interesting this helped me understand what the difference is between gen AI and AI in general. 🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂


Thank you



So well explained in this simple story. I will make my parents read it. Was finding it difficult to find simple explanation of AI and GEN AI. Now I have one!

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