Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT has recently made waves for producing human-like text and communications from user inputs. Accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection, ChatGPT produces usable written material on a wide range of topics and helps make decisions. These functions are leading many employers to consider ways to incorporate this technology into their organizations to enhance workflows, streamline operations and improve customer experience.
Since this technology is accessible to employers of all sizes, it presents an opportunity for organizations that strategically leverage it. However, AI tools have certain limitations and potential risks that employers need to consider carefully before embracing this technology. Even if employers don’t plan on incorporating AI technology into their business operations, it’s still wise to understand these tools and their limitations because employees may use them without their employers’ knowledge or permission.
This article explains what ChatGPT is and outlines considerations for using AI technology in the workplace.
What Is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a natural language chatbot, meaning it uses a natural language processing system to respond in a conversational manner to user inputs. This allows it to imitate human dialogue and decision-making. ChatGPT is capable of performing or helping with a variety of tasks. For example, ChatGPT can write articles, poems and songs; perform calculations; explain difficult concepts and subjects; automate tasks; and converse with users. This technology is advancing quickly and could have a major impact on how employers run and structure their organizations.
ChatGPT is a network machine learning model trained using data sets to generate human-like text on various subjects. The chatbot is trained from books, websites and articles to create questions, answers, summaries, translations, calculations, code generation, conversations and more. Its knowledge is limited to information that was available when it was trained, and it’s unable to access new information. As a result, some of the information and answers ChatGPT provides users may be outdated or inaccurate. The current version of ChatGPT launched in November 2022 and is a free research preview. It uses approximately 100 trillion machine learning parameters, but this information is current only up to 2021. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, may soon offer a professional version.
Workplace Applications of AI Tools
The significance of AI technology for employers cannot be understated, as it could change almost every aspect of how organizations operate and conduct business. Many employers, especially larger ones, have been using this technology for years; however, ChatGPT is not only making this technology readily available to employers of all sizes but also more accepted than in the past.
Incorporating AI technology can enable employers to run more efficiently and economically by automating many tasks currently performed by employees. AI can not only automate and streamline manual, error-prone tasks but also augment how employees work. This could potentially change the way employees work, allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks. Instead of replacing employees’ jobs, tools like ChatGPT will likely alter the work employees do and the value they offer their employers.
Nearly every facet of an organization—including HR, marketing, accounting, legal and software engineering—could be impacted by AI technology. Specifically, this technology could change how employers operate in the following departments:
- Customer support—AI chatbots can provide information and answer customer questions quickly and effectively, allowing customer support employees to focus on more important or nuanced tasks. They may also provide internal support for employees by answering questions they may have about benefits and other HR-related topics.
- Sales—AI technology can be used to generate sales leads, qualify prospects and guide customers through the purchase process.
- Recruitment—Employers can automate many aspects of the recruitment process, such as generating job descriptions and evaluating resumes to find qualified applicants, allowing HR teams to save time and resources.
- Marketing—Tools like ChatGPT can produce usable written documents on a range of subjects. Employers can leverage this technology to create and improve their marketing efforts, including copy and content generation, search engine optimization, keyword search data and ad content optimization.
- Software development—AI technology can write and correct basic software code to help organizations build websites, develop apps and fix software bugs. This enables individuals without computer programming knowledge or experience to generate code.
Additionally, organizations can use this technology to help create employment policies and handbooks and calculate payroll deductions. Some AI technology can provide organizations with real-time insights into market trends and customer behavior by conducting research and data analysis.
The accessibility and capabilities of tools like ChatGPT allow employers to experiment with and assess how their organizations can benefit from incorporating this technology into their day-to-day operations. Despite the potential benefits, ChatGPT and other AI chatbots have considerable limitations that employers must consider before adopting them. While AI technology can replicate many human-like behaviors and capabilities, it lacks essential skills like critical thinking, strategic decision-making and creativity. Being aware of these limitations can help employers evaluate and determine whether to use AI technology in their workplaces.
Errors and Outdated Information
Technology like ChatGPT creates the impression that it can do more or is more reliable than it is. AI’s knowledge is limited since it’s based only on the information used to train it. Therefore, the information AI tools provide users may be low quality or outdated, or it may contain errors. As a result, employers cannot be certain that the information this technology provides or what it produces is accurate. In some cases, AI-generated errors can be costly, subjecting organizations to government audits, fines and penalties. Employers would be wise to verify the information produced by AI tools before using it.
AI models like ChatGPT require extensive training and fine-tuning to perform at levels employers need to be reliable and effective. It’s currently unclear whether ChatGPT and other AI chatbots can accurately assess the information it provides to users; thus, employers need to be cautious about using AI tools for important or consequential matters. While this technology can be a valuable resource to prepare businesses or employment-related documents and streamline processes, the information produced by AI tools should only be considered a starting point. Employers will likely still need human oversight to review information and content created by AI to evaluate its accuracy before it’s used.
Additionally, this technology can create potential legal and privacy issues employers must consider. AI-generated content can violate copyright laws and create privacy issues for organizations. For example, the conversations employees have with AI chatbots may be reviewed by AI trainers, inadvertently disclosing sensitive and confidential business information and trade secrets to third parties. This could potentially expose employers to legal risks under privacy laws. Before using AI technology, employers should consider reviewing and updating their confidentiality and trade secret policies to ensure they cover third-party AI tools. Organizations can also train employees on potential copyright and privacy issues or restrict access to AI tools to reduce legal risks.
AI tools like ChatGPT have the potential to change nearly every aspect of employees’ work and increase organizational efficiency. This technology is relatively new, and there’s still much uncertainty surrounding it; however, it will likely continue to improve and become more reliable over time. As such, savvy employers will closely monitor AI technology’s developments and the potential issues surrounding them.