Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Google’s parent company, which is one of the leading proponents of artificial intelligence (AI), has issued a warning to its employees about the use of chatbots, including its own AI chatbot, Bard, according to a report published by Reuters on June 15, 2023.
The Silicon Valley headquartered company has apparently advised its staff against entering confidential information into AI chatbots, citing the need to protect sensitive data. AI chatbots like Bard and ChatGPT use generative AI to engage in human-like conversations and respond to various prompts. However, these chatbots pose a potential risk as human reviewers may read the chats, and the AI could reproduce data learned during training, leading to potential data leaks.
Reuters also says that Alphabet has also urged its engineers to refrain from using computer code generated by chatbots directly. The company confirmed to Reuters that Bard could occasionally suggest undesired code but maintained that it still aids programmers. Alphabet also emphasized its commitment to transparency about the limitations of its technology.
The company’s cautionary stance reflects a growing trend among corporations to warn their staff about using publicly available chat programs. Companies like Samsung, Amazon.com, and Deutsche Bank have also established guidelines on AI chatbot use.
The Reuters report goes on to point out that despite the concerns, Google is actively promoting Bard in over 180 countries and in 40 languages. However, Google has faced questions from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission about the chatbot’s impact on privacy, leading to a temporary delay in Bard’s EU launch.
The use of AI chatbots is not without its benefits. They can draft emails, documents, and even help with software development, potentially accelerating various tasks. However, they can also propagate misinformation, leak sensitive data, or infringe on copyrights. To address these concerns, companies like Cloudflare are offering businesses the ability to tag and restrict certain data from being shared externally.
Google and Microsoft are also providing conversational tools to business customers that come at a higher cost but do not incorporate data into public AI models. Despite the potential risks, the use of AI chatbots is expected to grow, transforming how businesses operate and communicate.
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