How AI is being used in your shop

How AI is being used in your shop

AI has been around in the aftermarket for over 20 years, making life easier for techs and shop owners without ever threatening their jobs.

We’ve all seen the sci-fi-esk headlines from articles warning us about the “dangers” of artificial intelligence, or AI. The reality is, AI has been around in the aftermarket for over 20 years, making life easier for techs and shop owners without ever threatening our humanity or jobs. Let’s talk about how AI has been utilized so far in the industry and how it could be used in the future.

Most of the doomsday headlines are referring to ChatGPT, a “chatbot” introduced in 2023 that scrapes the internet to answer questions in a conversational format. However, it doesn’t actually create anything new – it just rearranges existing information from online sources into responses, using advanced language algorithms.

ChatGPT may help students or programmers, but it can’t fix a car or even really help you with simple services because it lacks real-world experience. For example, it doesn’t know the difference between a fuel pump and a high-pressure direct injection pump. Talking to ChatGPT is like chatting with an amateur who watched too many YouTube tutorials.

When you look up parts or place orders, that generates data, analyzed by algorithms to optimize inventory – that’s AI. Aftermarket AI helps ensure you have the right parts in the right place at the right time. When you use shop software or repair info, your interactions create data to improve navigation and surface the most useful results. Soon this could even enable predictive maintenance using more advanced AI.

The problem with ChatGPT is it can’t verify if its information is accurate since it doesn’t provide sources, it just pulls unvetted info from across the web. In contrast, as a shop owner, you’re already part of an aftermarket AI ecosystem that’s been refined for over 20 years to be functional and relevant, not just conversational.

Still, though, some companies use chatbots to provide specs hands-free, like torque values. Service info providers use AI to better organize repair procedures, which can make techs more productive.

So, will aftermarket AI ever gain consciousness and turn on humans, making your shop look bad for even using it? Doubtful. But it will continue providing you with streamlined access to parts data and repair information. While ChatGPT probably won’t take over the world, it could help shops by interfacing with customers online and by phone, freeing up owners. More advanced versions could eventually integrate into POS systems, for example. Existing aftermarket AI makes technicians’ lives easier without any sci-fi disaster scenarios. And new chatbot tech like ChatGPT, while limited, may have practical applications in the shop. The future of AI looks more beneficial, not apocalyptic, for your shop and us humans.

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