In my role, I have the good fortune of interacting with and interviewing many great IR professionals worldwide.
So when the OpenAI chatbot sensation known as ChatGPT exploded onto the scene at the start of this year, I thought it would be fun to see whether it could hold up to the scrutiny of a good old-fashioned interview. I did notice the limitations of this technology - it repeated one answer three times and failed to give me the concise one-paragraph answer I specifically asked for.
Nevertheless, here is the full conversation resulting from my first ever interview with a robot.
Steven Wade: How will ChatGPT impact the investor relations profession?
ChatGPT: As a language model AI, ChatGPT has the potential to significantly impact the investor relations profession. Some of the ways in which this may occur include:
- Automated responses – ChatGPT can be programmed to automatically respond to frequently asked investor questions, freeing up time for IR professionals to focus on other tasks
- Improved accuracy – ChatGPT can provide consistent, accurate and up-to-date responses to investor inquiries, reducing the risk of errors or inconsistencies in communications
- Enhanced customer experience – ChatGPT can provide 24/7 availability and quick response times, improving the overall customer experience for investors
- Increased efficiency – By automating repetitive tasks and providing quick responses, ChatGPT can help IR professionals increase their efficiency and productivity.
It’s important to note that while ChatGPT and other AI technologies can certainly enhance the work of IR professionals, they are not a substitute for human expertise and judgment. IR professionals will still play a crucial role in shaping the strategy and messaging of their organizations and in building relationships with stakeholders. [But] ChatGPT can certainly be a valuable tool in supporting and augmenting their efforts.
Wade: Can you be more specific or provide examples?
ChatGPT: Sure, here are some specific examples of how ChatGPT could be applied in investor relations:
- Automated investor FAQs – ChatGPT could be programmed to answer common questions from investors, such as [those about] company performance, financial results and upcoming events. For example, if an investor asks about the company’s earnings per share for the latest quarter, ChatGPT could respond with the accurate information
- Investor outreach – ChatGPT could be used to automate and streamline the process of reaching out to investors with updates and information. For example, ChatGPT could send out personalized emails to a large number of investors at once, providing them with the latest company news and financial results
- Earnings call assistance – During earnings calls, IR professionals often have to answer a large number of questions from analysts and investors. ChatGPT could assist by providing quick answers to common questions, freeing up time for the IR professional to focus on more complex questions
- Market intelligence – ChatGPT could be used to gather and analyze market intelligence and competitor information to support IR professionals in their strategic planning and decision-making processes
- Investor portal – ChatGPT could be integrated into an investor portal, providing investors with quick and easy access to information about the company, such as financial results, analyst reports and shareholder information.
These are just a few examples of how ChatGPT could be applied in investor relations. The specific use-cases will depend on the needs and goals of each individual organization.
Wade: Are there any case studies of IR teams currently using ChatGPT or natural language processing (NLP) more broadly in their work?
ChatGPT: To the best of my knowledge, there are not many publicly available case studies specifically about the use of ChatGPT in investor relations. [But] there are several examples of companies and organizations using NLP and AI more broadly in their IR work.
For example, some companies have implemented NLP-powered virtual assistants to automate investor queries and provide real-time responses. Other companies have integrated NLP into their investor relations websites to provide investors with quick and easy access to information and to improve their overall user experience.
There are also companies that are using NLP to analyze and categorize investor sentiment, providing valuable insights into how investors feel about the company and its performance. This information can be used to inform strategic decisions and improve communication with investors.
It’s worth noting that while NLP and AI have the potential to significantly enhance the work of IR professionals, they are not a panacea. IR professionals will still play a crucial role in shaping the strategy and messaging of their organization and in building relationships with stakeholders. [But] NLP and AI can be valuable tools in supporting and augmenting their efforts.
Wade: What are some of ChatGPT’s limitations when applied to IR?
ChatGPT: Like any technology, ChatGPT has its limitations when applied to investor relations. Some of the key limitations include:
- Lack of human interaction – While ChatGPT can provide quick and accurate responses to investor inquiries, it cannot provide the personal touch and emotional intelligence that is often critical in investor relations
- Limited understanding – ChatGPT is only as good as the data and information it was trained on. It may not have the ability to fully understand complex or nuanced issues, or to provide the kind of judgment and strategic thinking that is often required in IR
- Bias in training data – If the training data used to develop ChatGPT contains biases or inaccuracies, these could be reflected in its responses. This is why it’s important for IR professionals to carefully review and vet the information that is fed into the model
- Limitations with complex information – While ChatGPT can provide quick answers to simple questions, it may struggle with more complex or detailed information. IR professionals may still need to provide more in-depth explanations and insights on certain topics
- Dependence on data quality – ChatGPT’s performance and accuracy are dependent on the quality and accuracy of the data it was trained on. If the training data is outdated or inaccurate, this could result in incorrect responses or incomplete information being provided to investors.
These limitations highlight the importance of human oversight and intervention when using ChatGPT in investor relations. IR professionals will still play a crucial role in shaping the strategy and messaging of their organization and in building relationships with stakeholders. [But] ChatGPT can be a valuable tool in supporting and augmenting their efforts.
Wade: What skills will IR officers require if ChatGPT, NLP or AI usage continues to increase in IR or investing?
ChatGPT: As the use of ChatGPT, NLP and AI continues to grow in investor relations and investing, IR professionals will need to develop a new set of skills to effectively leverage these technologies. Some of the key skills that will be important include:
- Data analysis – IR professionals will need to be proficient in analyzing and interpreting data, in order to effectively use NLP and AI in their work. This will require a strong understanding of data structures, algorithms and statistical methods
- Technical proficiency – IR professionals will need to be comfortable working with technology and be familiar with NLP and AI tools and platforms. This will require a basic understanding of computer programming and data analysis, as well as the ability to quickly learn new technologies as they emerge
- Strategic thinking – IR professionals will need to be able to think strategically about how NLP and AI can be used to support their organization’s goals and objectives. This will require an understanding of the business and the market, as well as the ability to identify and prioritize the most impactful use-cases
- Communication – IR professionals will need to be able to effectively communicate the results and insights from NLP and AI analysis to stakeholders, including investors, analysts and management. This will require strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to present data and insights in a clear and compelling way
- Ethical considerations – IR professionals will need to be aware of the ethical and privacy considerations associated with NLP and AI and be able to make informed decisions about how these technologies are used. This will require an understanding of relevant laws and regulations as well as an appreciation of the broader social and ethical implications of these technologies.
These are just a few of the key skills IR professionals will need as the use of NLP and AI continues to grow in investor relations and investing. It’s important to note that these skills will be complementary to the traditional skills and expertise IR professionals bring to the table, such as financial acumen, relationship building and strategic thinking. The goal is not to replace IR professionals but to enhance and augment their work with the power of NLP and AI.
Wade: Finally, can you provide a concise, one-paragraph answer about how IR professionals should think about the role of AI, NLP and ChatGPT in their role?
ChatGPT: Investor relations professionals should view AI, NLP and ChatGPT as tools that can support and enhance their work, rather than replace them. These technologies have the potential to improve efficiency, provide new insights and perspectives and automate routine tasks. [But] they should be used in conjunction with human expertise and oversight, as IR professionals bring a unique set of skills and expertise to the table, such as emotional intelligence, strategic thinking and relationship building.
IR professionals should be proactive in developing the skills necessary to effectively leverage these technologies, while also being aware of the ethical and privacy considerations associated with their use. By embracing AI, NLP and ChatGPT in a responsible and strategic way, IR professionals can play a key role in driving value for their organization and stakeholders.
Steven Wade is head of event content at IR Magazine
This is one of the most creative, interesting and informative articles on IR I have ever read - and I have been reading them since 1979. Recommended reading for all IR officers, CFO's and board members. Congratulations and thank you, Steven Wade.