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The Benefits of AI

While AI brings many risks and uncertainties, it also presents opportunities for the philanthropic sector. In this episode, we discuss AI tools, the importance of being open to new technologies, and AI’s potential implications on human interactions and responsibilities.

Cory Brester | Director of CRM and Information Systems, Foundant Technologies

Cory supports a fast-growing team focused on maximizing the philanthropic community. As a software solution provider for grantmakers, grantseekers, scholarship providers, and community foundations Foundant is tasked with supporting the infrastructure of philanthropic programs everywhere; in order to be successful at this, Foundant needs a reliable infrastructure of its own.

Cory manages Foundant’s internal corporate IT infrastructure and systems as well as leads the company initiatives on cybersecurity. Since starting at Foundant in 2011, Cory has spent much of his efforts planning and developing efficiencies and systems to support Foundant’s growth. His 8-year history with Foundant has allowed him to participate in sales and support – providing the internal experience necessary to provide a framework and continuity to information system processes and data integrity. Outside of his daily management work, Cory also enjoys sharing his cybersecurity knowledge through Foundant education resources, such as blogs and hosted webinars. Cory came to Bozeman from the agricultural community of Laurel, MT to pursue degrees in Finance and Accounting at Montana State University.

Tools Mentioned:

  1. ChatGPT
  2. Midjourney
  3. Zoom AI Companion
  4. Synthesia
  5. Descript



Cory Brester 00:00:00:01

People that are stagnant in their technology journey, that’s going to hurt them. But if they’re staying, staying up on things even just a little bit, that’s going to help take them a long way.

Logan Colegrove 00:00:14:26

Welcome to Connected Philanthropy. In today’s episode, we are discussing the benefits of AI with found in sound. Corey Brister. Corey is the director of Information Systems and has been here at Found INT for 13 years and also happens to be one of the most tech savvy guys I know. And while he spends a lot of his time thinking about security and the risks associated with technology, it was fascinating to talk to him about what he’s excited about and some tips he has around A.I..

Logan Colegrove 00:00:47:27

So without further ado, let’s dive right in. When I first was thinking of you as a guest on this episode, I thought security would be kind of the main focus. But we shifted to thinking about the benefits of AI. I think it’s easy to see a million ways that I can go wrong. You know, grant professionals and people in the nonprofit sector are probably thinking, Is this going to steal my job, even me as more of a media creator?

Logan Colegrove 00:01:19:05

It’s kind of blowing my mind how quickly everything is moving. It’s like we don’t even need. I can do graphic design now in creative writing. Who would have thought that, like the white collar jobs are the first to be threatened by AI? But I’m glad we’re talking about the benefits of AI. I’m curious, how were you first introduced to A.I.?

Logan Colegrove 00:01:40:27

What’s your A.I. journey?

Cory Brester 00:01:42:28

I think if we look all the way back, you know, A.I. has been with us for for quite a while. We started with really at a very fundamental level, spell check and then to autocomplete and then really to a sentence complete. Whether that was fact, you know, with the introduction of the BlackBerry to the way that Apple with iOS has really transformed some of the ease of messaging and then into office or 65 with autocomplete and sentence suggestions and and whatnot.

Cory Brester 00:02:13:15

And then I think where it really came into play was 2022 with the release of Chat CBT, where it became something that everybody had. I like to use some of these A.I. tools for finalizing some of those those emails or those official documents that I just don’t want to spend the time proofreading from an understanding, concise voice to that to that document, to the paragraph, the sentence, whatever it might be.

Cory Brester 00:02:43:25

And so when you can utilize chat equity and those tools to really create the message you want, but then go back in and validate that it’s truly what you want to say, validate that it’s actually the language you would use. I find sometimes that there are phrases or words that I would never have as part of my vocabulary, and I’m not interested in putting those out there in a in an email at that level to where you just don’t you’re not authentic anymore.

Cory Brester 00:03:15:19

So validating whatever is is the output of an of an AI tool is really important.

Logan Colegrove 00:03:23:04

Yeah, I totally agree. That’s funny, Chad GPT does kind of use like just big words sometimes or really flowery language and I find myself doing the same thing like going through and getting rid of words I’d never use or like this seems way too formal. I also like chat JPT I’m for punching up emails and scripts like you do, and a little tip that I’d like to share with our listeners is the way you craft the prompt.

Logan Colegrove 00:03:54:10

Like, maybe something you’d think of is I want this email to be more concise or just even make this email better. How do I make this email better? Something I do is what’s wrong with this script? Give me tough love because chatty CBT is basically just a large language model that wants to give you something that you’ll be happy with.

Logan Colegrove 00:04:19:06

So if you prompt it in a way that’s like Tear me down, I find that helpful because sometimes if I don’t add that little give me tough love. It’s just this is a really strong email. Here’s one little tweak, whereas Tear Me Down is like This part is too long. People might not find the time to read this.

Logan Colegrove 00:04:39:02

This part isn’t helpful or redundant. So kind of crafting just even a simple prompt of improve this email how you say that has an impact, I think. Do you have any tips for like a prompt crafting?

Cory Brester 00:04:54:23

I would echo that statement around, you know, what you’re looking for in terms of feedback from it, but also I would say telling, telling it how to act and who to act as. So saying, you know, act as whether it be act as a director of it, you’re going to probably get a more policy, stronger language type of response than you would if you said act as a kindergarten teacher, then you’re going to have an output that is much different and something that you would use in a different environment.

Logan Colegrove 00:05:25:05

I hadn’t thought of that. Yeah. Getting them to shift into that actual position, that’s fascinating. I’ve never even tried that.

Cory Brester 00:05:31:28

I’ve heard and read a couple of different articles around having chatted about actors, different roles and whether it be an organization or B, you know, different types of people out there in the cyber world. And you’d still very much get a different response if you if you act, if you ask it to act as, you know, somebody potentially trying to breach your network, you’ll get a different response, a little bit more dramatic example.

Logan Colegrove 00:05:56:17

There, but that’s still very cool. I actually so to circle back when you were talking about your path with AI, talking about BlackBerry and the first autocorrect examples that you were aware of, it’s just funny that people aren’t thinking of those things as AI or maybe, you know, not everybody was calling that artificial intelligence. You know, there’s differences in machine learning, automation, A.I. It seems like all those things have just kind of been lumped into This is A.I..

Logan Colegrove 00:06:34:04

I think there’s also an element of companies just trying to hop on the bandwagon and add that buzzword AI to their product. Have you come across that at all, or is that something that’s occurred to you?

Cory Brester 00:06:48:14

I think that’s totally accurate, you know, and thinking of, you know, different products that I’ve seen in the last couple of months, even in our system that we were evaluating that actually used AI to determine which employees were at risk of leaving the company because it was data driven and it was looking at metrics based on is this person less compensated than others?

Cory Brester 00:07:08:26

Did they have multiple manager turnovers? And in a certain period of time, were they are they receiving different kudos through the engagement platform that was that was part of this tool? So you have those aspects of of bringing forth more data driven AI tools. But it’s been, you know, 2023 was just the launch of AI everything. And I think when you look back at other tools that are out there, I was able to witness a keynote at a conference last year where the keynote speaker actually worked for for John Deere.

Cory Brester 00:07:44:04

So I also have a farming and ranching background. I grew up on a on a small farm. And so when you start to think of how these technologies can benefit other things outside of the the data and really what we’ve been talking about, the creative space or the language space, when you start to look at AI in other fundamentally important organizations such as agriculture, how does that start to shape the world and how do we start to see positive impacts in in things you don’t think of and you’re not interacting with every day?

Cory Brester 00:08:22:16

And this example of something that they were working on at John Deere was around the use of chemicals and and getting higher yields out of crops. So as you start to have AI driven seed planters and dropping dropping your corn seed at the right increment to have an ultimate, ultimately the highest yield possible for that field. When you get to spraying chemicals, how do you only target the plant you’re trying to eradicate and not put so much chemical into into the environment?

Cory Brester 00:08:59:28

How do you do this with less waste of fuel, with less waste of fertilizer? I think that the things that we don’t see every day and that we’re not hearing are maybe some of the most impactful things, you know, similar to the self-driving cars, the autonomous cars. There is going to be a I in that I was actually just listening to a podcast this morning around the artificial intelligence in the Mars rover and how that is shaping the discovery of the Martian surface.

Logan Colegrove 00:09:32:08

That’s so crazy. We have our narrow lens of software philanthropy. But yeah, John Deere I talk about futuristic, like I imagine a drone hovering over a vast landscape and spraying things exactly where it needs to based on data. Also, I have friends who are already finding huge benefits to AI in the medical field. Medical charting takes up so much time and everyone I’ve talked to is like, that’s the bane of my existence.

Logan Colegrove 00:10:05:03

They have to chart out patient data and they’ve already it’s kind of like a Zoom meetings almost is the way I think about it, which is probably totally wrong. I have zero medical experience, but you meet with the patient, you understand, you get all the data from them and then afterwards you have to actually document that. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an AI companion similar to Zoom meetings that was listening to the entire interaction and summarized it in an official chart?

Logan Colegrove 00:10:37:04

And we both have experience with the Zoom AI Companion. Could you describe kind of what that does?

Cory Brester 00:10:44:15

Yeah. So in the in the Zoom zoom AI companion and even other video platforms, you have an eyeball that’s essentially listening to the meeting and summarizing different points, different actions, and calling out where somebody should revisit, post meetings. So then after the meeting, you’re getting your digest of this is what happened. These are your action items. Here’s where you should go next.

Cory Brester 00:11:08:14

And I think, you know, to your point of you know, medical charting, that is something that does take doctors, nurses, anyone in the medical field a great amount of time to go through. It’s important work, but it’s tedious. And so if you have tools that can help alleviate that monotonous task and do so with accuracy and probably still, as we mentioned before, looking over and proofreading and making sure that it is accurate for what it what it heard in that particular patient room or in that in that meeting, being able to take those tasks off of somebody and giving them more time to be with the patient, more time to have a positive impact on

Cory Brester 00:11:53:12

somebody’s life, I think is really powerful. You know, as we transition that to talking about philanthropy, how do we take away some of the monotonous tasks of maybe applying for a grant or from a language perspective, crafting a better response to an application? Question And how do you get at some point to saving your grants? Managers time by summary using the grant application so they’re not spending the time reading through a lot of detail and instead just get the key facts and the pieces that are actually needed to make that decision.

Cory Brester 00:12:31:21

And then once you are making those decisions, how do you start to drive towards the data aspect and just revealing the data analytics from from the impact and saving time from having somebody import data, run reports, filter data. Instead, the A.I. model could just look at what’s most important in this data and help you make better decisions that you can have a bigger impact on the future.

Logan Colegrove 00:12:59:14

And thinking of philanthropy. It’s so interesting that I could assist with both the quantitative and qualitative side. A I seems like a just huge benefit with uncovering trends that maybe you wouldn’t have seen without an AI companion, but also it helps with being creative, the storytelling aspect. So I just seems like there’s tons of opportunity in 2024 and beyond for philanthropy specifically because philanthropy is that mix of data and storytelling, qualitative and quantitative.

Logan Colegrove 00:13:39:28

There are some funders that require just give me the data. The impacts should all be quantifiable and we want to see improvement. And there are other funders that are just like, we want to see a video of the impacts or we want to write up. So it seems like AI is the future of philanthropy. One thing I’m fairly certain of is we’re not going to see the decline that we saw in cryptocurrency and Nfts in AI.

Logan Colegrove 00:14:11:20

This seems like a technology that already is creating so many so much value for so many people. Do you agree with that or do you think there’s it’s kind of overhyped right now?

Cory Brester 00:14:23:22

I totally agree with with with that. I do think there’s there is a lot of hype, but I don’t think that we’re going to see a crash of of the usage. I think it’s just going.

Logan Colegrove 00:14:31:09

Where no one’s even talking about it anymore.

Cory Brester 00:14:33:11

Exactly. I do think, you know, a piece of caution putting my security hat on is, you know, where the increased usage is going to have a negative impact is just when we start to let our guard down in terms of security, best practices. And as you said, we started this podcast thinking about the security tools and the security best practices around AI and changing the tone of this podcast so that we could focus on on the benefits, because I think there are a lot of benefits, but we want to make sure that we continue to use really good security best practices around what are you providing the AI tool, you know, don’t you wouldn’t provide

Cory Brester 00:15:16:20

Google with your trade secrets or your confidential data or your confidential information, so don’t provide Chachi beauty with that or any other tool. And if you have an AI bot attending a meeting, you’d maybe be conscious of whether or not that I bought actually should be listening to that meeting. If you are discussing sensitive information, maybe turn it off for that meeting and just be selective as to when you involve those tools.

Cory Brester 00:15:42:25

And one thing that we provide is guidance for our team is because we do want to be innovative in choosing to use these new tools is when you’re evaluating a piece of an AI solution, make sure that as part of its terms and conditions, essentially it’s not using the data you provide it in its machine learning that will help protect you and and your information.

Cory Brester 00:16:10:15

Just love it. Nobody loves reading the long list of tools and things. I know everyone just clicks. Yes, I accept and move on.

Logan Colegrove 00:16:16:10


Cory Brester 00:16:16:28

But remembering that what you provide it is going to exist for eternity. It becomes data. The data will be there for somebody to use, whether it be good or bad. So just use common sense and be cautious of what you’re including in your A.I. interactions.

Logan Colegrove 00:16:38:02

So speaking of A.I. tools, I’d love to spend just a little time actually talking about the different tools we use by name. We’ve talked primarily about chat. T Do you have any other tools that you use regularly? I Tools.

Cory Brester 00:16:56:00

To be honest, that’s where I have been landing is with chat DVT and then Zoom I meeting companion the meeting summary that’s that’s been the existence of my my daily use. Have you used any of the content creation stuff.

Logan Colegrove 00:17:19:24

The tools that I’ve found the most use out of our one mid journey, which is the image generation A.I. that I use? It’s really mind blowing. They recently had a version six release and the images that can be created with that are astounding. It’s like the photo realism that it can achieve or even the more vector art cartoon style that it can achieve is really cool.

Logan Colegrove 00:17:53:15

So I use that a lot and that’s mainly to get inspiration. Like maybe there’ll be a poster design that I just want to see what would be kind of a cool or an infographic or something to anybody out there that has to create images as I would mess around with Mid Journey, it’s it’s awesome for inspiration or even if you’re using stock photos a lot for different things, creating something with a prompt can get you exactly what you need.

Logan Colegrove 00:18:25:10

Before I would need to go to Getty Images and you know, you type in the search bar, you know, happy group of young professionals and you have to sift through a bunch of photos to get exactly what you’re looking for in terms of high key lighting, diversity, all these different little elements. But if in mid journey you can get really good at crafting that exactly what you need and get the stock image that you need, it’s really cool.

Logan Colegrove 00:18:55:25

So I’d encourage people to check out Mid Journey. This one’s really niche for video creation, but there’s a tool called D script. If you’re used to editing docs moments, think of editing a Google doc. This turns video editing into that, so you can actually write out your voiceover and you can describe things and it’ll automatically say the voiceover with an AI voice and also pair images that match the voiceover.

Logan Colegrove 00:19:24:22

So if you’re running into maybe there’s a grant application that needs a video, this is a really easy and innovative way to get into video creation. Those are the two that are really kind of game changing in my world. And Adobe has a bunch of functionality that’s really exciting and cool to me, but I’ll probably ended there.

Cory Brester 00:19:51:04

You actually reminded me, speaking of, you know, how much has happened in the last just one year, I totally forgot about the guy who I use for creating training content. I’m currently forgetting the name of it, but there are a couple out there. When I did the research on them. But this particular tool you could select from their stock avatars, you could pay extra to have them utilize your self as an avatar and then you fed it the content that you wanted it to read and it would output a amazingly well done clear training video with any content you provided it for, for backgrounds and slides.

Cory Brester 00:20:31:28

The person the avatar actively moved in that in the way that the language would require it. It was super cool, very easy to create training content very professionally in little to no time.

Logan Colegrove 00:20:50:05

Cynthia Cynthia I we will put links to all these tools in the show notes. So one thing I would encourage all of our listeners to do is just get really curious and open about it. It might be overwhelming, but just keep in mind you’re really on the frontier along with all of us, of exploring and being curious. And I think just being open, open to it, being optimist about what it can do and not so tough on it when it does make those mistakes or there’s factually wrong information in the output.

Logan Colegrove 00:21:29:17

Or maybe this video generation tool that you’re testing looks kind of cheesy or robotic. I think just getting excited, excited about it is an important thing for everybody to do. Any other comments on the Zoom meeting? AI tools?

Cory Brester 00:21:49:16

I think those have a great a really good opportunity to make you more efficient coming out of meetings. I think what you have to be careful of and i read an article more of an h.r. Driven article just a couple of weeks ago, but where you have to be careful around sending a bot to a meeting is what the perception is.

Cory Brester 00:22:10:25

If you don’t attend, if you send an eyeball to a meeting because you’re too busy. While that may be an application for something like that, what do you, what image do you project upon your team? If you’re if you’re saying, I can’t come to this, but I can send the bot to it and I’ll just read the summary, something to take away.

Cory Brester 00:22:34:17

There might be shorten your meetings, create more space in your and your day to be able to attend those. Or was the meeting even relevant to begin with? And then as the H.R. piece, you know, just always thinking about business operations, I think you also H.R. professionals are going to start to see more, I guess. Question around, well, did somebody actually attend this meeting?

Cory Brester 00:22:56:24

If they just read the bot, you know, if they just read what the output from the bot was, were they actually participating in work or have they essentially offloaded all of their work to an AI tool and become you can look at that from becoming really efficient or no longer doing their job. You know, what level of H.R. implications are we going to see as we start to see these tools, specifically as it relates to meetings inserting itself into our our, our daily work.

Logan Colegrove 00:23:28:24

That kind of goes back to the humanity. I think people are getting used to recognizing when something is generated. And I hadn’t really even thought of like if there’s an AI bot in your place, you know, what kind of message that sends. So yeah, I think that’s that’s all something to keep in mind as you integrate it into your work life.

Logan Colegrove 00:23:53:27

I’ve got a few quotes on AI and I thought I just read them and if you have any reactions to them, I’d love to hear those too. The first ones actually paraphrase using, and I can’t remember who first said it, but I heard it on a podcast. And the basic gist is there’s something to be said. If you’re using AI to take a bullet hit list and make it more flowery, send that in an email and the person who receives it puts that text into A.I. and says, Just give me the bullets.

Logan Colegrove 00:24:24:01

I think AI there’s the risk of people trying to use it to sound more official or legit when it’s like, this should be kind of a tool that pares down all the unnecessary fluff. So I thought that was interesting. Anything to say about that quote?

Cory Brester 00:24:42:23

My reaction there is that it depends on who you’re working with, because I could see that going both ways. And I think that’s where you get into the human aspect of knowing your audience and going through different communication style training. You know, I may take a bulletin list and make it and fluff it up and make it sound better.

Cory Brester 00:25:02:05

But if I send that to someone that just wants the details, then that was not worth the time. I should have known my audience and just sent them the bullet. Now, if I’m the type of person that sends a bolted list of people and potentially it’s too blunt and too direct, and that the human element comes into play and, you know, maybe they they feel like that message was too strong and it maybe hurt someone’s feelings, then maybe that’s a place for me to put that into AI and make that message come across, you know, in a better fashion than just hear those bullets.

Cory Brester 00:25:37:12

I think there’s pros and cons to that, and I think it comes back to the human aspect of you need to know your audience.

Logan Colegrove 00:25:43:03

That’s marketing one on one right there. Yeah. No, no, your audience. That’s well said. I like that a lot. Okay, here’s another quote. I won’t take your job. Someone who knows how to use A.I.. Well.

Cory Brester 00:25:55:07

I completely agree with that. I think that’s you mentioned earlier, you know, be open to it. You’ve got to learn along this journey. I think for people that are stagnant in their technology journey, that’s going to hurt them. But if they’re staying, staying up on things even just a little bit and starting to learn the tools that become every day for for their coworkers, that’s going to help take them a long way.

Logan Colegrove 00:26:26:07

Well said. Do you have any thoughts on the legality and future litigation that I imagine is coming for chat? GPT three and all A.I. that uses large language models that they don’t hold the explicit rights to?

Cory Brester 00:26:46:20

I’m not a lawyer, but I would be really curious where things fall in terms of intellectual property and the rights behind intellectual property. If you come up with an idea or even, you know, creative content, who owns that creative content? Do you own the rights to the company on the rights? It’s buried somewhere in those terms and conditions that nobody read.

Cory Brester 00:27:09:13

But I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion around the legality of torture. But were you the one that made the decision? And that’s going back to the Zoom A.I. companion is making sure that the content is accurate. Did it interpret the decision correctly? Did I really say it was okay to move forward with this plan or did it interpret it differently?

Cory Brester 00:27:35:26

And so somebody is still a human, is still responsible for the outcome of that summary.

Logan Colegrove 00:27:42:16

Has to be in the mix. Yeah, Yeah. A prediction is, I think 2024 a lot is going to evolve in terms of legality and what’s allowed with these different tools. And yeah, I’m sure there’s going to be a bunch of court cases that’ll be seen. So it’ll be interesting at the end of 2024 where all that lands is exciting.

Logan Colegrove 00:28:05:05

It can also be terrifying and I think I’ll just leave our listeners with kind of what I alluded to before. Just get curious about it. Do you have any parting words or thoughts?

Cory Brester 00:28:21:04

I think yeah, I would just encourage people to get curious. You know, if you need tools to go learn more, you know, there there are a lot of reputable YouTube channels go to Coursera or Udemy and there’s specific courses around whether it be a security, a development just air use in general. Get curious, figure out how to use it, figure out how to use it in the sector that you’re serving, whether that be tech, technology, philanthropy, be safe, use common sense, use all the security best practices that you’ve learned over the last 5 to 10 years.

Cory Brester 00:29:00:09

They’re still relevant. So keep them top of mind as you interact with all these new tools today and in the future.

Logan Colegrove 00:29:07:28

Well, thank you so much, Corey, and thank you for listening. Please share this episode with anybody who you think would find it useful. And thank you for all you do.

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