Originally published January 17, 2024 by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Wyatt the chatbot has already helped more than 30,000 high-schoolers complete their federal student-loan applications on time — a key step to unlocking money to pay for college. Day and night, students text him questions about the country’s byzantine financial-aid processes, but Wyatt never burns out. The larger his caseload, the smarter he becomes.
Before there was ChatGPT, there was Wyatt — an A.I.-powered college adviser designed in 2019 by the nonprofit Benefits Data Trust — one of many innovations that have emerged or evolved over the past few years as A.I.’s advance suddenly kicked into warp speed.
A.I. will save the world. It may also doom it. It could supercharge productivity for an overstretched nonprofit work force — or it might replace human workers altogether. In fact, nobody knows for sure what comes next for a technology that is already changing the way we work and live — and is expected to replace some white-collar jobs. Yet experts say A.I. could also eventually help burned-out employees focus more on what matters most — the tasks that require a human touch — while the robots take care of the busy work.