Creative machines: The potential of generative AI
Generative AI is currently a much discussed technology. It is a sub-area of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows completely new content to be created. At Schaeffler, a multi-disciplinary team is working on producing guidelines and tools for using these kinds of solutions. In addition, Schaeffler’s digitalization experts are also working on developing Schaeffler’s own ChatGPT-based chatbot solution, which is already in the testing phase.
Artificial intelligence at Schaeffler
Artificial intelligence allows machines and systems to carry out complex tasks that would normally require human intelligence. At Schaeffler, AI is a key success factor and firmly embedded into our digitalization road map. Many AI solutions are already in use within the company in various areas. Generative AI now offers potential for many other areas of application.
Interview: Jürgen Henn and Jonas Vento on generative AI
Jürgen, as the Head of Strategic Digitalization, you don’t just deal with Schaeffler’s digital strategy but also work on issues relating to new technologies. Can you explain briefly what generative AI is all about?
Generative AI is a sub-area of artificial intelligence and specifically, of machine learning. Distinguishing a dog from a cat is just one example of what we have been able to do with machine learning so far. But generative AI can now create a completely new image or video of a dog or write a complete story about a dog, i.e., it can genuinely create new content. This is the big difference to other AI solutions. ChatGPT is currently a very popular example, but there are dozens of other tools on the market that can create text, images, videos or even software, for example.
Our corporate IT unit, where you work Jonas, has been dealing with this topic for a long time now. What potential do you envisage for Schaeffler?
We see huge potential. Generative AI is now capable of understanding texts and producing new texts. The same goes for images. With these capabilities it is able to simplify our working lives. Generative AI can be very helpful to us when it comes to the creative activities we currently do in the office – generating new content in almost any form. Generative AI solutions cannot and will not completely take over these tasks. But they can substantially speed up the process, in all areas of the company.
Can I now simply go ahead and use these generative AI solutions for my work?
Jürgen Henn: We have to distinguish between the use of publicly available tools like ChatGPT and those that we create ourselves. For publicly available tools we have clear rules and procedures in place, above all that it is not permitted to enter any confidential details. But that is precisely why we meanwhile have our own solution on offer.
Jonas Vento: Exactly, our Schaeffler chatbot, which is based on ChatGPT and works exactly like the public version, with the major difference that all information entered stays within our company. We are currently testing its operation in a test group, but will soon be able to make it available to all Schaeffler employees. It will then get really exciting with Release 2, which we are working on simultaneously, because we will then also be making internal data available along with the chatbot. That means it can also offer highly specific Schaeffler knowledge.