ChatGPT has been creating ripples since it was launched in November 2022, taking workplaces by surprise and triggering discussions and debates.
Reuters calls it the “fastest-growing consumer application in history.” As a reference, TikTok took nine months to reach 100 million users. It took ChatGPT just two months.
Generative AI (artificial intelligence) creates new content instead of just analyzing data. GPT, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, is the language model designed for AI chatbots.
At its core, therefore, ChatGPT is a generative AI computer program that can hold realistic human-like conversations with users. It can provide information, give recommendations and advice, and answer questions. And it’s kind of fun.
Let’s look at the many benefits of ChatGPT, and all generative AI chatbots in general, from a business perspective:
24/7 Availability - AI chatbots can deliver customer service 24/7 without breaks or supervision.
Cost-Effectiveness - Chatbots can save money on staffing, training costs, HR, etc.
Efficiency - AI chatbots can handle multiple customer service requests at the same time.
Problem-solving - AI can solve problems for internal teams by writing code, creating marketing content, and sparking new ideas.
Improved sales - Chatbots can suggest additional products and services to boost profits.
In addition, AI chatbots can expand to handle demand during busy periods, generate helpful analytics, and improve response and resolution times.
As you can see, chatbots can provide benefits for businesses such as better customer service, efficiency, and cost savings.
What’s not to love?
Generative AI, like any new disruptive technology, requires consideration beyond initial excitement and benefits.
For the rest of this post, we’ll look at a few security, privacy, and ethical concerns about generative AI and AI chatbots, so you can make informed decisions regarding this technology for your business.
When using AI and GPT tools for business, it’s important to evaluate and manage potential risks, because there are several to consider. For one, if your AI and GPT tools have access to your internal sensitive data, there’s potential for attackers to gain unauthorized access to that same information.
In fact, OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, confirmed an early 2023 data breach that exposed sensitive user data.
And like any useful tool, bad guys will use it for their own nefarious purposes. We are now seeing this groundbreaking technology used for email phishing attacks, generating malicious code, and other hostile purposes.
What’s more, attackers might exploit programming loopholes and bugs. It’s software after all.
But it’s not all bad, though; security teams can use GPT to strengthen security as well. For example, GPT can analyze and categorize viruses, detect and filter spam and unwanted emails, and detect malicious phishing emails.
Companies should evaluate the privacy risks of AI/GPT as well.
Besides the privacy risk of data breaches discussed above, there’s the issue of gathering personal information without the consent or knowledge of the user or data owner.
Calling it a "data privacy nightmare", a professor at the University of Sydney criticized ChatGPT for scraping the internet and collecting unauthorized sensitive data. This, in turn, violates copyright law, GDPR, and contextual integrity.
Transparency is another privacy issue we must consider. Transparency means “information provided to individuals about how their data is collected and processed should be both accessible and sufficiently detailed to empower them in the exercise of their rights.” In other words, businesses using AI/GPT must explain how the systems work. Not only is transparency a key component of the GDPR, many US states include it in their own data privacy laws.
Besides weighing the security and privacy risks of AI/GPT, be sure to examine ethical concerns and how they may affect your business.
For example, how do AI chatbots really operate under the hood? How do they make their decisions? Were they programmed by ethical developers at a company with integrity? If transparency is lacking, the risk may not be acceptable for your business.
Another ethical consideration is how your data is used. As addressed in the privacy section, GPT models are trained on massive amounts of text data and sensitive information has been included in this data set… whether the user permits it or not.
Additionally, misuse can lead to increased business risk and further ethical considerations. If AI/GPT is misused or used unethically, it could lead to potential human rights violations, financial fraud, job displacement, and decreased human interaction. Therefore, your business must mitigate these risks by implementing company AI policies, procedures, and ethical guidelines.
AI/GPT is a powerful and useful tool and it’s not going away. The security and privacy surrounding it must improve over time. Open discussion, input from security and privacy experts, and involving users in the development process should be encouraged and fostered.
Moreover, regular updating and testing of security and privacy measures will only help to improve the technology, build trust, and increase adoption in all industries and areas of life.
In this post, we’ve introduced generative AI and GPT and presented several benefits for business. We then covered some key security, privacy, and ethical concerns surrounding AI/GPT chatbot technology. No doubt, it’s a disruptive and useful tool, but we must address and solve these concerns to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI technology going forward.
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