One year on from the launch of ChatGPT
The launch of ChatGPT on 30 November 2022 quickly changed the global perception of AI. Within months, 100 million users were asking ChatGPT entertaining questions and witnessing first-hand the magic of generative AI. While this was all good fun, AI had already begun its subtle reform of many business-as-usual functions.
Businesses are already deploying a variety of AI tools to cut costs and drive efficiencies. The most obvious initial touch point for AI in most organisations will be its incorporation into everyday office software, such as that provided by Microsoft and Google. Many businesses are already enjoying the benefits of “auto-complete” text functions and software coding “co-pilots”.
More bespoke AI solutions are also being deployed in logistics, customer acquisition, data retention, and cyber security functions. Data-heavy industries like the financial sector are already using AI solutions like IBM’s Watsonx to provide AI analytics at scale and customer-facing industries are using “chatbots” to offer immediate (and low-cost) support to assist customers.
Should your business be adopting AI?
The headline-grabbing projects emerging following the release of OpenAI’s GPT models have given the impression that all organisations have rapidly adopted AI. It’s important to recognise that most organisations are still just “dipping a toe” in the AI pool and that many small steps should be taken before jumping into the deep end.
If your business is not directly using AI, there’s a high chance that some of your third-party suppliers are already using it to provide services such as web design and cybersecurity. Your first step should be to consider what specific operational requirements AI will assist with and subsequently think carefully about what AI your business might wish to adopt.
How do businesses start implementing AI safely?
Like any emerging technology, AI carries various risks, some of which are still being fully understood. As is often the case, careful implementation will be the key to enabling organisations to successfully manage the integration of AI, ensuring that risks are properly identified, managed, and mitigated. From the outset, organisations should ask:
- How is AI already being used in our business?
- Do we have a process for identifying AI in our tech stack and supply chain?
- What are the ways in which we should use AI in our business? Are there obvious use cases?
- Will we incorporate AI into our own products and services?
- Do our suppliers use AI to provide services to us?
- How will the new technologies affect our employees? (See Shepherd and Wedderburn’s view on the impact of AI in the employment sphere here.)
- How do we embed the responsible use of AI in our business strategy?
These are just a few of the questions you should consider at the outset of your AI compliance journey, with many more steps to come.