What does ChatGPT mean for your business?

10th February 2023

By now, everyone is likely to have heard of ChatGPT: the generative AI module which has taken the world by storm, with its ability to review and analyse a vast amount of content to produce a coherent stream of consciousness that is not too dissimilar from a human’s.

While there are some benefits, employers must take care with how such a solution is incorporated into their business practices.

What does this mean for employers?

Legal exposure and reputational concerns

ChatGPT is built on information available from the internet, not all of which is true or accurate. So, what might happen if a company’s client asked for some advice, and in doing so, the company used ChatGPT to generate it but the AI solution relied upon incorrect and/or inaccurate information.

The client may act on this advice and be placed in a disadvantaged position and, consequently, sue the company for negligence, irreparably damaging their reputation.

Inherent bias of AI

Effectively, ChatGPT’s functionality is based on the information provided to it by human decision-makers.

However, assume the human inputting the information was, in one way or another, prejudiced against certain groupings of persons. Might this lead to cases of discrimination?

Take, for example, a HR team relying on ChatGPT to implement a new ‘rewards’ policy in a company which has historically favoured employees who work beyond their contractual hours.

Potentially, such a policy may favour young, single, men who do not have any familial responsibilities as compared to their relevant comparators. Arguably, if this policy was enacted, it may lead to claims of indirect discrimination.

Data security and confidential information

A major concern for employers is ensuring that their employees keep confidential any information, contacts, intellectual property, trade secrets and ‘know-how’ both during and after their employment, as, for most companies, this is where their value resides.

The use of ChatGPT in the workplace may undermine this value if employees offer up such information onto the internet. There may be no guarantee that that information is secure. So, consider what would happen if a data leak occurred on ChatGPT.

Obviously, the information would be at risk but the impact goes wider. It could devalue the company and, because of it, investor confidence could be shaken. Additionally, the company may be hit with breach of data claims of their own, the fines for which can go into the millions of pounds.

Potential Benefits

Despite the risk averse nature of this article, ChatGPT does have some benefits. For example:

  • it can operate 24/7, answering customer queries and potentially lead to better customer satisfaction;
  • it may increase productivity of workers if there is an AI solution taking care of the more mundane but necessary tasks;
  • it may reduce expenses for employers as they are no longer reliant on human employees.

That said, employers will need to assess whether the AI solution does more harm than good as compared to when a human employee does the same task.

If you are considering using ChatGPT or other similar AI solutions but need advice with navigating the legal issues, SMB are happy to help.

Please contact Joe Hennessy at joe.hennessy@smb.london