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The best AI tools for business
We’re going to be honest here — we feel the hype for generative AI is overblown at the moment, given how often it makes mistakes or produces something that falls into the uncanny valley. But if you’re aware of its limitations and prepared to work around them, it can potentially speed up a lot of tasks. With that philosophy in mind, here are some of the best AI tools for business currently available.
The best AI tools for business
It’d be impossible to cover every possible business application of AI, even if we wanted to try. So instead we’ve chosen a handful of general-purpose tools, at least some of which should be well-known names, even if you wouldn’t necessarily think of them as AI-focused.
ChatGPT is the most obvious choice for a list like this, but it’s the tool that kickstarted the hype for generative AI, and with good reason. It can help draft emails, marketing, and other writing projects, as well as proofread copy and summarize topics. If you already have some programming knowledge, it can help you code better.
The thing to caution is that anything you produce with ChatGPT needs to be doublechecked. It sometimes gets facts wrong, and while its writing can be surprisingly natural, it’ll probably need to be finessed — it’s not about to replace journalists, or any other professional writer for that matter.
ChatGPT is typically free to use, although you may have to wait in line based on demand. To get around that you can subscribe to ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month, with further benefits such as plug-ins, faster response times, and access to the AI’s latest language model.
Photoshop has been around for decades, and is often synonymous with manipulated imagery — there are (negative) lines about it in pop songs. Adobe has doubled down on that idea in the generative AI era, using its Firefly image generation technology for features like Generative Expand and Generative Fill. These can not only add or remove objects from scenes, but replace entire backgrounds, or extend an image when the source material is too small for a particular canvas. More importantly the results are impressive, to the point that you’ll start questioning the reality of every photo you see.
The perpetual problem of Photoshop, at least for small businesses, is that it’s expensive. You need to pay for a Creative Cloud subscription, and even the cheapest single-user plan with Photoshop starts at $19.99 per month. There are business licenses available, but these are actually more expensive since they include things like admin tools and extended tech support.
Grammarly ads are seemingly omnipresent on the internet, but it’s a genuinely useful tool — even us professional writers often use it to doublecheck spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It can also suggest tone changes, and a beta citation generator supports APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.
Grammarly Business plans include generative AI features by default, including not just tone changes but things like drafting, outlines, brainstorming, and the ability to lock in a preferred “voice” for an organization. If you don’t care about anything that complex, you’ll probably enjoy quick-click options to shorten, simplify, or improve text.
Plans start at $540 per year for 3 users, and increase from there if you add more people or decide to go month-to-month.
Midjourney is, for now, the reigning king of image generators. Its V5 iteration is tough to challenge, in some cases producing results that are photorealistic, albeit with the occasional error that betrays their AI origins. You can always embrace artificiality, though — there’s even an anime mode, which could be useful for things like game development.
For businesses there are two main catches. The first is that you can’t access Midjourney through a dedicated app or website. Instead you need to use Discord, a real-time chat app more commonly associated with gaming. Discord does run on every platform you might care about however, including the web, and the chat commands you need to know are flexible without being overly complex.
The other (potential) issue is resolution. Images default to 1024 x 1024. You can upscale to 2048 x 2048 or 4096 x 4096, and change aspect ratios if necessary, but even that maximum size isn’t good for more than a 13.7 x 13.7-inch print. You’ll probably be limited to using images in web and interface graphics, or perhaps some in-game art assets.
Access to Midjourney costs at least $10 per month or $96 per year. For business purposes you’ll probably need to upgrade to a Pro plan, which costs $60 per month or $576 per year. That gets you 30 hours per month of fast GPU rendering, unlimited “relax” rendering, and a larger number of concurrent processes. There’s an even more expensive Mega tier, but the only change there is double the amount of fast GPU time.
Notion is a common tool for project management and notetaking, and its AI add-on features are similar in some respects to ChatGPT and Grammarly, incorporating options for drafting, summaries, proofreading, and tone adjustments. There are some unique elements present though, such as the ability to create an interactive checklist of action items from meeting notes. Likewise, there’s a focus on creating bulletpoint lists for brainstorming or takeaway summaries.
Notion AI costs $96 per user, per year on top of a paid Notion plan, or else $10 monthly, and that’s with or without a paid Notion subscription.