There’s been a lot of talk about AI. We’ve even used ChatGPT a bit here ourselves at Steel Market Update. But this week I had the chance to get a broader view on what’s on offer in the field at the Reuters Momentum Conference on July 11-12 here in Austin, Texas, where I live.
I went there with an eye to find out if there would be anything steel-centric in the proceedings, and anything for our readers to take away. OK, I also went to find out if the experts thought AI could pose a threat to humanity. Unfortunately, that seems like an open question.
But on a more mundane level, one of the main problems with Generative AI— AI like ChatGPT that generates text, images, etc.—is its tendency to “hallucinate.” That is, it makes things up. However, I learned there is a ChatGPT plugin store, that functions much like an app store. This can customize the experience. Also, there are ways you will be able to put in proprietary data, and then have ChatGPT manipulate that data in any way you’d like. You can even ask it what it thinks would be a good use of the data.
For customer service, a Wells Fargo executive said that a high percentage of everyday banking tasks is already done by Bots.
And on the legal side, I found out that ChatGPT has already passed a bar exam. A participant said it’s more of a “junior associate” than a senior one currently. I didn’t even know ChatGPT had gone to law school! Another interesting development was with contracts. An example: you can ask AI to change the jurisdiction of a contract, let’s say from California to New York, and all the relevant clauses will be added. Of course, a human needs to check afterwards, but that still saves a lot of time.
There are implications for steel with all these scenarios, but it was when I saw Bryan Goodman—Director, AI Advancement Center and Cloud at Ford Motor Co.—that steel really came into focus.
He was presenting, along with an executive from Intel, on a panel titled “An Inconvenient Truth: AI Innovation vs. Net Zero.” Long story short, AI innovation uses a lot of electricity, and they are looking at ways to mitigate that.
Goodman also spoke on how Ford is using AI right now to build better batteries, and in aerodynamics. AI is improving the “resilience of supply chains,” he said, and can be used to monitor the supply chain for ESG issues.
When asked if most businesses needed to adopt AI in some fashion, he replied: “I can’t imagine anyone being competitive without using AI.”
I was able to speak to him after the panel and asked if Ford was using AI in any applications relevant to the steel industry. He told me Ford is using to AI to more efficiently stamp parts. And the more efficient stamping of parts… means less prime scrap.
Finally, I asked him if AI is involved in determining the raw material composition of automobiles. In short, will AI determine much steel will be used in future vehicles. His response: “Not right now, but eventually it will.”
SMU Steel Summit
Want to find out how the steel industry is already using AI? There is no better place for networking and taking the pulse of the industry than Steel Summit.
Pro Tip: There is a lot of good content on Monday morning, so you might want to think about arriving as early as Sunday evening.
By Ethan Bernard, email@example.com
Latest in Final Thoughts
A big "thank you" to Wolfe Research and Timna Tanners for organizing a lunch in today in Chicago with a group of steel industry participants and investors.
Sheet prices fell again this week, this time not on fears of a United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike but on the actual thing.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike that started Friday leaves the Detroit 3 automakers—and it’s union-represented workers—in uncharted territory.
SMU Managing Editor Michael Cowden shares his Final Thoughts for the week on what happens to steel if the United Auto Workers (UAW) launch a series of “stand up” strikes at midnight tonight against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis?
Sheet prices have fallen to their lowest point of the year - just below $700 per ton ($35 per cwt) when it comes to hot-rolled coil (HRC).