Artificial intelligence is coming for philanthropy

Rhodri Davies

You probably feel like you have heard a lot recently about artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT – the powerful chatbot from OpenAI that has gained 100 million users since its launch in November 2022, and which has reportedly become the fastest-growing consumer internet app ever. Recent weeks have also seen the release of GPT-4; a new version of the underlying Large Language Model (LLM) for the chatbot that is set to improve it still further. And it’s not just ChatGPT: Microsoft has been putting significant resources into a partnership with OpenAI that will allow it to embed ChatGPT into its other software, like Bing and Teams. Google, meanwhile, has launched its own ChatGPT rival, BardAI, that will be integrated into the company’s search services.

These chatbots are worth paying attention to in their own right, but even more importantly they signal the likely coming of a wider wave of ‘generative AI’ tools that will be able to create text, images, music, and video from simple prompts in everyday language. Some see this as a cause for excitement, others as a cause for concern, but most agree that this technology is going to have a transformational impact across education, creative industries and many other areas of our society and economy. Philanthropy will undoubtedly be affected too, but what form will this take?

To find an answer maybe we should start – as has become de rigeur in any article about this topic – by asking ChatGPT itself:

‘It is difficult to predict exactly how the development of conversational AI will affect philanthropy in the future. However, it is possible that the use of AI in philanthropy could lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness in areas such as fundraising, grant-making, and program evaluation. For example, AI chatbots could be used to interact with donors and guide them through the donation process, or to analyse large amounts of data to identify patterns and trends that could inform philanthropic strategy. AI could also potentially be used to automate certain tasks or processes, freeing up staff to focus on more high-level, strategic work.’

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