Nearly half of 11,793 professionals (43 percent) who responded to a recent survey reported using AI tools, including ChatGPT, for work-related tasks. Most of those professionals (70 percent) do so without their bosses' knowledge.
The survey was conducted by Fishbowl, a social network where professionals can have anonymous conversations about their careers and work lives.
Employees are using the chatbot for resumes and cover letters, copywriting, programming, and sales and marketing e-mails. But that's only scratching the surface.
A recent Forbes article listed 27 ways businesses can use ChatGPT, including HR tasks. Examples include drafting HR policies and asking for advice on challenging situations like employee disagreements, theft and more. It's the latest tool workers are using to get their jobs done more efficiently, but they and their managers need to be aware of possible dangers, including plagiarism, incorrect information and even security risks.
"AI and automation tools are not new. The interest and awareness that has come from ChatGPT's explosion onto the scene is what's new," said Greg Toroosian, CEO and founder of Samson Rose, a California-based robotics and AI recruiting firm. "If you take a step back and think about how people were completing work before ChatGPT, there were instances where your staff would use things like forums, code libraries, Google and other AI tools, or asking friends."'
Using AI tools allows employees to focus more on creative and innovative tasks and less on administrative work, according to Kayla Lebovits, CEO and founder of Bundle, a concierge-style benefits company in New York City.
Whether you (or your company's leaders) are a fan of or fear artificial intelligence tools in the workplace, it is essential to know these tools' benefits and limitations and set expectations for employees' use of them.
Defining the Line
Management should decide if their teams can use these tools, Toroosian suggested. In some positions, the tools can enhance staff members' abilities.
"Depending on your role, ChatGPT is one of several tools you could use. In some roles, it is not as useful, but other AI tools are," he said. "At the end of the day, you need someone knowledgeable and competent in their profession to submit quality work, whether they have used AI as a starting point or it has aided them in getting to the desired result."
Users should be selective about where and when they use ChatGPT. Recently, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee drew criticism for using ChatGPT to write an e-mail to its student body addressing the mass shooting at Michigan State University. At the same time, schools are prohibiting its use because students are using it to write entire essays. Some companies, including JPMorgan Chase, are banning the use of the powerful chatbot over security concerns.
One of the biggest issues HR leaders and managers must stress with staff is that AI-generated work cannot be taken at face value. While it is mostly accurate, it often makes mistakes.
"Most chatbot AIs are not ready to scale for full production but are getting better every day. However, when employed as a work tool, we still need to be mindful to keep the human in the loop to ensure accuracy and proof the results," Lebovits said.
Plagiarism and loss of intellectual property are significant concerns. Lebovits points to Merriam-Webster'sdefinition of plagiarize: "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source."
"If a company's mission is to produce content, generate graphics/videos or publish articles, they need to acknowledge where their content came from, be it a source, a gallery, a photographer, a book or an AI tool," she said. "Other companies who decide to use AI for non-published works are making calculated decisions to do so to enhance their company."
Acknowledging the possibility of users appropriating other people's work, ChatGPT's creators released a second tool to detect plagiarism: ChatGPT Plagiarism.
Jennifer Massey, SHRM-SCP, president and co-founder of Integra HR LLC in Albany, N.Y., said, "HR leaders should educate themselves on the pros and cons of using AI tools. HR should also lead the dialogue internally about using these tools and the benefits for their industry and discuss any downsides with staff."
If workers aren't using ChatGPT, they may be afraid of being replaced by it. Some of those worries may be justified. Massey pointed to an Albany Business Review article reporting that ChatGPT is positively contributing to computer programming.
It resolves coding issues and expedites the development process when programmers are struggling. It also gives skilled developers more time to focus on solving more complex challenges. However, it also reduces the need for entry-level programmers, because ChatGPT does the work that people in those roles do now. That could lead supervisors to rethink the career ladder for these workers.
"How does an entry-level person progress to a senior level without that entry experience?" she asked. "In addition, HR needs to consider the impact AI will have on the roles within their organizations and how this will impact career paths and/or the need for certain roles within the organization."