The Ultimate Guide to Generative AI (GenAI)

When it comes to major innovations in the 21st Century, nothing quite compares to the impact of generative AI. GenAI can take vast quantities of data and process them down into a coherent output within seconds – doing things that could potentially take a human lifetime to otherwise achieve.

With such broad use-cases for GenAI, knowing exactly what it is, how it works, and what it can do for you will help you make the most of this powerful piece of technology. At Future Workforce, we’re here to help you do just that – bringing businesses to the next level with support for harnessing GenAI solutions.

Contact us today to see how we can help you adopt GenAI into your everyday workflows.

What is Generative AI?

Generative AI, or GenAI, is a type of algorithm that utilises machine learning to create new content. Machine learning is in itself a form of artificial intelligence which can learn from data patterns without the need for constant human direction. It thrives off huge and complex data banks, while often being the only solution for analysing them.

To put it simply, GenAI can learn what things are and then use this information to create new things.

Commercial use for GenAI hasn’t really been a thing, at least until 2022 when ChatGPT made an explosive entrance onto the scene. User-accessible GenAI models like this may seem novel, but they and the technologies behind them have a wide range of applications across every industry.

Other key GenAI models to be aware of include DALL-E (a popular image generator), and Google’s BERT. But other, more niche GenAI systems also exist. Finding the one that matches your business case will help streamline your processes and propel your organisation into the future.

How does GenAI Work?

GenAI works through machine learning. By accessing, analysing, and categorising different images, subjects, and aspects, it can develop an understanding of what things are.

While GenAI is a recent development, the foundations of machine learning have been around for a while. In fact, the first applications of it have been around since the 1950s, starting with Alan Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” and quickly progressing into the development of an artificial neural network (ANN) called SNARC and the world’s first self-learning program, “Samuel Checkers-Playing Program”.

However, older the older “versions” of GenAI were limited. Even into the 21st Century, it was unable to create real outputs. As a pattern recognition tool, it was unrivalled, but there needed to be a way to convert this understanding into a tangible result.

As you can expect, GenAI is the outcome. By learning from massive amounts of data, such as ChatGPT-3’s 570GB of text data, GenAI can form insights and convert these into an output.

When prompted, GenAI will attempt to understand the intent behind the prompt, then produce an output to match. Random elements incorporated in GenAI mean these outputs will vary, giving breadth and the impression of creativity to responses.

The outputs of GenAI aren’t just limited to text, either. Depending on the AI used, you can generate new content such as:

  • Audio files
  • Code in various languages
  • Images in different styles
  • Simulations of products and events
  • Videos

These outputs can then be used in a variety of ways. From informing business decisions to creating marketing tools, or even automating repetitive tasks that require a small amount of foresight to properly complete, GenAI speeds up, smooths out, and cuts down costs for many different business operations.

Get in touch with our team to find out how GenAI can improve your business as a whole.

The Benefits of GenAI

As it can mimic human intelligence, GenAI can theoretically achieve anything a human can. It can learn without human direction, or undergo supervised learning where humans have more control. Basically, it can be shaped into whatever form you require.

Building an understanding of data means GenAI can create content, informed by prompts. The more detailed and specific the prompt, the better the output is likely to be. It’s been known to produce authentic writing in seconds, and can then go on to refine that with or without additional input from humans.

An article from the BBC on AI in computer games gave several benefits for AI:

  • Keeping soaring production costs down
  • Automating repetitive tasks
  • Building out elements like maps, backstories, and scenery details
  • Adding realism, emotional depth, and full storylines
  • Personalising experiences
  • Giving humans more “creative dignity”
  • Allowing workers to fulfil their true purpose, and achieve their true value

Within the BBC’s article, Andrew Wilson – CEO of EA – said that “around 60% of the game publisher’s development processes could be affected by AI tools.” This shows the far-reaching impact of GenAI, but also the need for trained human elements to work alongside AI and achieve maximum results.

GenAI’s Potential Pitfalls

When talking about GenAI, it can be easy to get lost in the benefits. They’re so far reaching, with so many applications for the technology, that the pitfalls often get misunderstood or left unconsidered. However, being aware of the problems that GenAI can have will mean you’re ready to deal with them as they arise.

There are four main challenges that GenAI faces:

  1. Data hallucinations and incorrect data. As its primary function is to give an output based on a user query, GenAI has been known to make things up. Even when it isn’t doing this, flaws in the data AI uses can result in subsequent inaccuracies in its outputs.
  2. Confidence and authority. While confidence is usually a good thing, it can be dangerous for AI. The wrong idea delivered in the right way can easily sway someone’s opinion, making any inaccuracies GenAI has a lot worse.
  3. Social bias. GenAI isn’t infallible; far from it, GenAI is influenced heavily by the data it learns from. With the social undertones that are prevalent throughout much of the online data sources that certain AI gather their information from, outputs can result in a level of bias, or even sexism and racism.
  4. Unethical use. If someone is so inclined, they can manipulate GenAI to support them with unethical or criminal activity. Being aware of these use cases is important, mostly from the side of GenAI developers to prevent it from delivering harmful outputs.

There are solutions to all of these problems. New regulations will reshape the climate of GenAI, both in its uses and the safeguarding that surrounds it. Vigilance from those using GenAI to recognise and correct inconsistencies and false data will prevent it from causing knock-on effects, and stronger algorithms behind GenAI will lead to a better understanding of data – resulting in a lower chance of incorrect outputs and a simultaneous increase in the quality of positive ones.

Where can GenAI make an Impact?

As we’ve mentioned, GenAI is a huge advancement for pretty much any industry. Its benefits are far reaching, with impacts on products, processes, and support. There are advantages to be had for specific industries, the core ones of which we’ve listed below.

Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

Upscaling and improving the resolution of medical imagery is one of the most influential effects of GenAI. This gives doctors a better understanding of the issues a patient might have, leading to a more accurate diagnosis and quicker access to support.

It doesn’t stop there; GenAI can also help by providing online care and directing people to appropriate resources. While the majority (87.6%) of use-cases are information based, it can even assist with diagnosis. GenAI can identify diseases based on pattern recognition, such as a Japanese AI that was previously used to ensure consistency in pastries for bakeries being repurposed into a cancer-detector.

IT and Technology

As a digital tool, GenAI has obvious connections with the IT industry. It is far-reaching in this regard, having impacts on everything from meteorology to telecommunications. It can help to write code, feeding into the advantages of low-code solutions that are present across all industries, and support with initial conceptualisation through to execution and customer support for new developments.

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Both the marketing industry, and other industries which require it, can benefit from GenAI’s ability to make coherent outputs to exact specifications from a variety of complex prompts. A word of caution here would be to not use the outputs of GenAI in their raw form. Refinement and human intervention are always required to ensure you get the best results – especially given the penalties that AI-generated content faces online and through public discrepancy.


Intricate global supply chains, bespoke production, and even further automation for assembly lines are the results of GenAI being applied to the manufacturing industry. With AI Co-Bots able to work directly alongside humans to perform detailed and complex tasks without risk, manufacturing has been given an opportunity to further revolutionise industry processes.

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Other Industries

All industries can benefit from AI. We work in banking, retail, logistics, insurance, and more to deliver robust GenAI solutions that enhance day-to-day operations and futureproof your business. AI is predicted to add trillions to the worldwide economy, so getting in on this boom early means you’re prepared for the benefits to come.

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Level Up Your Business with GenAI Services from Future Workforce

Supplying a wide range of benefits to pretty much every industry, GenAI is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. It can speed up your operations, streamline your processes, and provide the support you need to each stage of your design, implementation, and customer support activities.

For advice on GenAI, or support on utilising it alongside other digital technologies, get in touch today. Future Workforce are here to help you optimise your systems and make the most out of the latest innovations. Check out our services, or read on to find more ways you can give your business a boost.

Find out how GenAI chatbots are transforming customer service >

See how GenAI aligns with our tech trends predictions for 2024 >

Meet the Authors

Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson


Director and Co-founder at FWF UK. Dan has committed his career to the technology industry and has over a decade of experience working at senior strategic levels in Financial Services, including Insurance Process Automation Lead at Accenture UK&I and Head of Automation at Close Brothers Bank.

Contact Dan