ChatGPT Could Help Contractors If Used Right: Dr. Lance Eliot

Generative AI is a new hot trend, as exemplified by the popular app ChatGPT. Dr. Lance Eliot says this emerging type of AI can be useful for contractors with a proper dose of caution.

Bloomberg Government subscribers get the stories like this first. Act now and gain unlimited access to everything you need to grow your opportunities. Learn more.

Something is happening in artificial intelligence that you ought to know about as a federal contractor.

A newly emerging caliber of AI is gradually being rolled out that can perform a wide range of your everyday writing chores. When you need to compose a project status report, this special kind of AI app can likely do that for you. The same can be said for responding to federal request for proposals, or RFPs. Just about any kind of writing can be wholly generated.

Perhaps you’ve already heard a bit about this exciting AI advancement. A slew of recent stories touts an AI app called ChatGPT, released in November. These generative AI apps are capable of composing text in the form of full-blown essays, stories, narratives, memos—seemingly any kind of writing that you might need.

The written composition is unique and original. I mention this because you might assume that the AI is merely copying something that already exists somewhere else such as on the internet. Nope. The AI app has been computationally trained across the vastness of the web and identified complex patterns associated with words and how we use words. Based on that mathematical formulation, the AI can generate new writings that appear completely fluent as though written by a human hand and, for all intents and purposes, appear as one of a kind.

How It Works

Generative AI can aptly be described as a form of mimicry. You’ve likely encountered a limited version of textual mimicry in any modern-day word processing package. Think about the autocomplete function on an email app. Imagine scaling up this textual mimicry, going from merely completing sentences to full paragraphs or a series of paragraphs.

The latest generative-based AI apps can quickly produce an entire composition based on a sentence or two prompt. You can then copy that narrative into whatever document you’re filling out. Suppose the feds require you to enter a description of your project status into a templated form. Voila! You can get the AI to craft the wording for you.

If you’re lousy at writing, you now have an AI assistant that will do the chores for you. Contractors often abhor memos and other arduous reports since it consumes gobs of time. The AI can either provide ready-to-paste text or you can edit the composition to suit your taste.

Some Gotchas

Exercise caution when using generative AI apps.

First, you have to properly compose your prompts. If a prompt is confusing or misstated, the generated composition will probably not come out as you might have hoped. There already are various courses springing up on how to best do “prompt design” (also known as prompt engineering).

Second, the essay or composition produced could contain falsehoods. Keep in mind that the AI was trained by scanning text on the internet. The AI isn’t sentient and has no semblance of common sense. As such, it’s possible that the essay being generated contains false statement and even might include biased statements about race, gender, and the like.

On top of this qualm, there can also be “AI hallucinations” in the text, where the AI seemingly makes up stuff out of thin air.

Bottom line: You will need to carefully examine whatever compositions are generated and make adjustments as necessary.

Looking Ahead

Generative AI can save you time and money. You can get a memo or report done in a fraction of the time it might take to write it yourself.

If you’ve had to hire a writer for some of these tasks, you can now save those precious dollars. Use the AI.

So far, most of these AI apps are available for free, but be aware that there’s talk of monetizing the apps.

There’s also grumbling about whether these AI apps are unfairly exploiting writing that has been posted on the internet, which might lead to lawsuits against the AI makers or could spur lawmakers into enacting new laws covering this type of AI. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, go ahead and make use of generative-based AI, but please don’t fall into the mental trap that the AI will miraculously compose precisely what you need. Successful use of these specialized AI apps requires writing on-target prompts. Just like a box of chocolates, you never know for sure what you might get. Double-check the generated text.

Shakespeare famously said that to be a well-favored person is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature. Turns out that writing also comes via AI.

Subscribers can find related content at Bloomberg Government .

Author Information

Dr. Lance Eliot is a globally recognized expert on AI & Law and serves as founder and CEO of Techbrium Inc. In addition, he is a Stanford Fellow affiliated with the Stanford Law School and the Stanford Computer Science Department via the Center for Legal Informatics. Formerly a top exec at a major Venture Capital firm, plus having been a partner in a prominent consulting firm, he is a successful entrepreneur that has started, run, and sold several high-tech firms. His widely popular books on AI & Law are highly rated and are available on Amazon and at other online booksellers.

Write for us: Email

To contact the reporter on this story: Fawn Johnson in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Rothman at

Stay informed with more news like this – the intel you need to win new federal business – subscribe to Bloomberg Government today. Learn more.