In light of OpenAI’s viral ChatGPT platform, users worldwide are leveraging the tool to accomplish tedious tasks, improve their workflows, or just have fun.
Thanks to its power and versatility, ChatGPT is increasingly being used in an office setting. Marketers are spinning up fresh copywriting, consultants are creating memos and decks, and even software engineers are using the tool to create and debug code.
But is it a good idea to use it in the workplace? First, let’s look at how AI tools like ChatGPT function, and then we’ll review some positives and negatives when it comes to using it at your place of work.
How ChatGPT Works
ChatGPT is a chatbot that utilizes artificial intelligence to produce near-instant, human-like responses. It does so by comparing data from several sources, then leveraging natural language processing to turn this gathered data into conversation-like answers. Soon after its release in November 2022, the tool exploded in popularity overnight, and it’s now used by enthusiasts and professionals worldwide.
In January 2023, Microsoft confirmed a $10 billion investment in the program to integrate its language model into Microsoft’s Office and Teams software. When this happens, AI will take another huge step toward becoming mainstream.
Of all professions, marketers have been the most excited to give this new tool a try. In fact, 37% of marketers report that they’ve already used it at work. People in the tech industry aren’t far behind, with 35% of professionals reporting using it.
Right now, it’s mostly being used to:
- Generate new ideas
- Compose emails
- Write or troubleshoot code
- Summarize meeting or research notes
With its myriad applications, ChatGPT’s usage will likely only continue to grow, whether it’s in casual or professional settings.
While the excitement around ChatGPT is hard to overstate, it’s important to exercise caution to those wanting to leverage the tool in any way possible. For one, because the software trains on publicly available information from Wikipedia, books, and the internet, its answers are sometimes inaccurate. It might also use content another individual legally owns, thereby infringing upon the IP owner’s rights.
But of even more concern is the potential for security risks. Budding cybercriminals could use ChatGPT to improve their skills, and the tool could even be used to write malware itself. In fact, a survey of IT professionals revealed that many believe the world is less than a year away from the first successful cyberattack credited to ChatGPT.
Another security risk is the possibility of a well-meaning programmer uploading proprietary code or sensitive information to the chatbot to debug, improve, or optimize it. While the information you give ChatGPT is supposed to be completely private, the last several years have taught us that no brand should assume they’re safe from data leaks. And if bad actors get their hands on private information, it could spell serious trouble for your organization.
Finally, due to its ability to produce natural-sounding human language, hackers could use the tool to create phishing attacks and spam. While the tool does have countermeasures that refuse to provide an answer to malicious queries, it’s possible to work around these. Therefore, its potential for misuse is nearly limitless.
What’s the Solution?
Due to the myriad concerns with ChatGPT and artificial intelligence, many companies should carefully consider creating their own policies about AI. Some organizations, including some of the world’s biggest banks, are banning workers from accessing the tool entirely. But even that won’t stop bad actors from creating malicious code or social engineering to use against you.
So how can you prepare for an unknowable future in light of these issues? Ironically, the best way to safeguard against the ever-changing threats that come with AI is to focus on traditional cybersecurity measures. Some experts say that if you’re already exercising proper cybersecurity protocols, you already have the best defense against generative AI attacks.
What does that mean in practice? Thoroughly train your staff against social engineering tactics, and ensure your infrastructure is safeguarded with the latest in cybersecurity. Furthermore, make sure you run regular backups of your infrastructure and sandbox your applications appropriately to reduce the risk of network-wide vulnerabilities.
As long as you exercise the basics and maintain proper security protocols, you’ll give yourself the best chance of keeping your network secure.
Even though some professionals aren’t yet sold on using ChatGPT in practical applications, others believe that AI may completely supplant workers within a few short years.
As the future brings new technologies every day, don’t get left behind. Contact us today to discuss ways to empower your business and employees with future-proofed solutions.