What Employers Need to Know About Generative AI

To embrace AI or not: the question still on everyone’s mind in 2024. While tools such as ChatGPT can be fast, efficient, and game-changing for many industries, businesses should still take pause to consider all of the risks involved.

What is Generative AI?

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an algorithm that generates realistic content based on its knowledge and samples of content provided by the user. Using natural language comprehension, these seemingly new creations can range from writing samples and blog posts to photos, audio, and other media types.

While Generative AI has been used to output content that is creative, insightful, and time-saving, it has also been used in negative ways. For example, “Heart on My Sleeve,” a song seemingly performed by Drake and The Weekend, was actually created entirely by artificial intelligence. A “harmless” scheme can quickly turn into plagiarism or present copyright issues.

As an employer, it is important to understand Generative AI and how it may affect your employees and your business.

What Are the Cons of Generative AI?

It’s no secret that Artificial Intelligence has created a lot of amazing and pretty accurate pieces of content. The obvious benefits of utilizing this tool are enhanced productivity, improved decision-making, a new perspective, and completing tasks quicker than a human can. Some businesses are integrating AI in everything from customer service responses to employee training processes to digital marketing and even with Microsoft Excel formulas.

However, not everything AI creates is fully accurate. AI pulls from its own library of knowledge, which can limit its abilities. These generators can only create things based on what they “know,” meaning that if there is information lacking from their internal libraries, such as brand new legislation, or the information is inaccurate, its final output could be false or inaccurate. Always give an AI-produced piece of content a full review before publishing it to your audience.

Similarly, since AI is basing its creations on a library of already created resources, that means that it is pulling information from someone else’s work. So, not only could the output be inaccurate or false, but it could also be considered plagiarism. 

As AI is an information source that is constantly growing and absorbing information to build up its library, whatever information you provide to it in a prompt in order to create content, could be used for AI creations later on.

With the output being based on AI’s library, there is also the problem of who actually owns the final generated content. There are three possible outcomes depending on the terms of usage from the makers of the AI tools; (1) the user nonetheless owns the output, (2) the user and the toolmaker jointly own the output, or (3) the toolmaker owns the output.

Is Generative AI Affecting Your Business?

Unfortunately, it is not a clear black-and-white code of whether or not your employees are using AI.  Generative AI is continuing to expand on a daily basis.  Employees could use AI for productivity to write emails, captions, or send Slack messages. They could be using AI to conduct research, write articles and contracts, or compose any and all text being used in your business processes. From an HR perspective, are employees using prompts to fill-in answers to performance reviews? Are candidates using AI to enhance their resumes? The line between human and AI is getting blurrier every day.

There are many cool features of using artificial intelligence, along with many benefits to your business. However, you need to weigh the risk against the benefits and figure out where you set boundaries for your business. With this in mind, it is important to educate your employees of all of the potential risks associated with using Generative AI. This is especially true if employees are giving your internal information to the AI tool.  If the terms of the toolmaker give them full rights to the output, your business could be found in a difficult position. If the terms of the toolmaker give them full rights to the output, your business could be found in a difficult copyright position.

While it’s a hot topic and only growing in users, now is the time to discuss the challenges of AI with your employees. It is still relatively new to the scene of businesses and the general public’s accessibility so ensuring that everyone has a thorough understanding of what using AI could mean for your business is crucial to avoiding legal trouble.

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