ChatGPT: AI Language Models Can’t Replace Intelligence Analysts. Yet.

Recently, chatbot programs have been in the news with concerns about their potential to eliminate jobs. One artificial intelligence (AI) language model, ChatGPT, has been gaining headlines with its ability to answer questions with remarkable insight and clarity. The bot does not “think.” Source material comes from the broader Internet, where it collects bits of information and then generates a fast and well-written text response. Yet, humans “train” the system, so there is still the introduction of bias. And flaws from inaccuracies to the system having difficulty grasping subtleties have yet to be addressed.

Nevertheless, the concept of incorporating AI systems into the workplace begs the question: Can the technology replace intelligence analysts? It was a question put before ChatGPT, and here is the answer:

“As an AI language model, I have the capacity to analyze and process large volumes of data quickly, which can be useful in certain aspects of intelligence analysis. However, my capabilities are not currently advanced enough [emphasis added] to replace the expertise and intuition of human intelligence analysts. There are many factors and nuances to consider when providing intelligence, including context, cultural knowledge, and personal experience, which cannot be entirely replicated by a machine. Therefore, while chatbots like me can assist in data analysis, they cannot replace the abilities and insights of skilled intelligence analysts.”


As you can see, the system identified context, cultural knowledge, and personal experience as key elements AI was not (yet) able to replace. Currently, AI systems appear to be skilled at gathering and collecting data. But interpretation of the collected data is more art than science, and it continues to be a task that requires a human to perform.

While it is still early, it is easy to see how AI systems might become valuable partners to the analyst in the future. Here are some potential uses:

  1. Research history and background information
  2. Identify data sets
  3. Brainstorm hypotheses
  4. Offer fast and simple explanations on complex topics
  5. Translate text

AI may be able to assist with writing, too, provided the work is fact-checked and cited, and it is made clear to the reader the work was the product of AI.

How soon, or perhaps, if ever, AI systems can appropriately replace humans in such tasks as producing intelligence analysis is a matter of debate. But even in its current form, they appear to offer utility in performing basic research and writing tasks that would allow the analyst more time to focus on complex projects.

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