One of the most popular discussions in technology conferences around the globe at the moment is artificial intelligence, specifically OpenAI’s ChatGPT tool. If you have not used it yet, ChatGPT is tool that allows a user to input a natural language question and get a reasonably coherent answer. Is that answer correct? Maybe. Should people begin using it in business as a substitute for human-created content? Not yet. Here are the reasons businesses should approach ChatGPT with caution for the moment. For those businesses that are advancing their objectives with ChatGPT, it is imperative that they have well-developed policies to guide their employees and reduce the risks related to AI usage.
The first reason businesses should not rely on ChatGPT with mission-critical issues is because OpenAI says it is not ready for such heavy lifting. While the knowledge base is growing, the reliability of the output depends on whether there is a good base of knowledge in the particular subject matter. Users will not be sure whether the answer is based on data that has been subjected to statistical validation or whether it will run afoul of privacy protections. Even when the answer is reliable, the output may not be appropriate given the context. And, if the answer is wrong or harmful, ChatGPT disclaims all legal liability for using it.
If a business wanted to use ChatGPT to generate marketing content, it is arguable that the content would not be protectible under the Copyright Act because the chat bot is not an author, and the output may not be unique. Anyone who inserted a similar model could receive similar or identical output. Universities are instituting policies that use of chat bots is prohibited and will be considered plagiarism.
Issues involving ownership of the input, the machine learning, the finetuning, the output and everything in between have not even begun to be meaningfully litigated, and battles are likely to be lengthy and bitter.
ChatGPT claims it has 100 million monthly subscribers, and that it is growing exponentially. That’s a lot of potential arguments over the ownership and usage of data. When you add that to the belief that AI-generated output is notoriously unreliable, the situation becomes fraught with peril.
Despite these concerns, many businesses are starting to use the technology to develop content. If your business is one of those that plans to tread carefully into the early stages of ChatGPT, it is critical to develop and publish a policy that clearly articulates the parameters of what is acceptable and what the expectations are with respect to safety and ownership. This can be difficult, even if your business does not plan to use ChatGPT until some of these issues are more settled. For instance, Walmart initially had an outright ban on using chatbots and related technology. Last week, Walmart removed the ban and instead asked employees to refrain from inputting any sensitive information, shopper information, or confidential knowledge into ChatGPT or other AI portal.
If your business is planning to use ChatGPT’s API, it is important to understand the intellectual property and licensing implications, as well as the impact it may have on your need to obtain revised agreements with your clients.
If your business needs assistance developing, revising, or evaluating its policies related to ChatGPT or other AI technology, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion about next steps.
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