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Where can AI show up in the workplace?

AI has a lot of uses. It can consume and analyze huge amounts of data, which can be very helpful for your workforce. It can be used as a jumping-off point for research and data analysis. It can also create schedules and assist with time management. With the proper use of AI, labor-intensive jobs are expected to be more streamlined, with human guidance rather than a fully hands-on process. Of course, this type of change can be good and bad. Below are just a few examples of how AI might show up in the workplace:

  • Making written products.
  • Creating reports, documents, and contracts.
  • Designing custom images and videos.
  • Chatting with customers.
  • Automating repeated research-based tasks.

AI can write for you. AI can create a wide variety of documents for your team. AI can also input virtually any image you request into things like promotional items, flyers, and websites. It can even edit videos and photos to add or remove items with a few clicks of a button.

One of the most widely used AI solutions is a chatbot to communicate with customers. This type of AI uses algorithms to review and respond to customer needs. It carries out programmed tasks using specific triggers, often based on the language the customer uses or the information they share. 

Hunting for data online, such as to create contacts for sales or research competitors, can be much more streamlined using AI. In fact, any repetitive task may be a candidate to switch to AI to make the process faster and more efficient.  Because it can analyze data and provide information about that data, it can also formulate reports regarding that information. Something that took hours of work and data science previously can end up taking just a few minutes if done correctly.

How can employers and business leaders embrace AI without embracing undue risk?

Employers and companies can lower risk by creating clear policies about how and when AI applications can be used. Clear guidelines covering the use of AI can help curb misuse and encourage workers to review AI-produced outputs. An AI Workplace Use Policy, either as a standalone policy or as part of an Employee Handbook, may be a good idea. As part of that process, you can create examples of acceptable use cases and situations where AI may not be used.

An AI Workplace Use Policy sets out expectations regarding using AI in the workplace. It encourages responsible behavior and sets out the consequences for overstepping the guidelines that have been established. It might also include:

  • A list of specific tools that are prohibited or permitted.
  • Whether the employee needs permission to use AI and how that is obtained.
  • Standards regarding disclosure of AI usage to customers and other stakeholders.
  • Methods and standards to address intellectual property concerns.
  • Company obligations regarding the use of AI.
  • Data privacy concerns and protections.
  • Protection of confidential information.

Although not technically part of the guideline, an AI Workplace Use Policy might also describe potential risks to inform workers of why responsible use of AI is important. This type of policy might also be part of your Information Security Policy or Internet Policy.

Giving employees resources about the risks of using AI can be very beneficial to encourage the appropriate use of AI products. Training is critical to help employees understand how AI can be used safely in your industry and manage liability risk. For instance, there are intellectual property issues and certain regulatory requirements that may come up in some industries and not others. Copyright violations, data privacy and inaccurate, unreliable, or biased conclusions are often the primary concerns when using some of the more popular AI tools.

What are the benefits of AI for your workers?

AI can be used for a wide variety of tasks that benefit your team. It can work through everything from HR needs to process automation at an individual task level. In general, AI is expected to provide the following benefits when used properly.

Increased productivity: Data-driven decision-making ultimately makes for better-informed decisions, which, in turn, increases productivity. 

Cost reduction: When some of the more repetitive, mundane work tasks are processed through AI, it leaves more time for higher-level, higher-value work. 

Enhanced job satisfaction:  Automation may be able to help transfer workers from more mundane, repetitive tasks to activities that are more creative, challenging, and satisfying. 

Reduce errors: When tasks are automated and data is only inputted once, there is less room for error.

Embracing AI can lead to efficiencies across the board because of the many available AI solutions. There are benefits for stakeholders at virtually every level of business.

What are some risks of AI implementation for your employees?

AI technology has come a long way, but, depending on the specific situation, human review is still a good idea. For example, AI systems and outputs can occasionally lead to accidental intellectual property infringement concerns. Information from some of the most popular AI tools comes entirely from outside sources, so it can be very difficult to determine what the AI tool created and what was taken from another source and simply copied. Human review of AI generated work is a good first step in preventing infringement claims.

AI use in the workplace is generally legal, but regulators are keen to rein in uses that result in harmful, or even illegal, results. Businesses, in particular, may want to pay attention to data security protocols and data privacy restrictions. For example, employers may want to check on the security measures provided by AI tools under consideration, especially if private or confidential information may be part of its use.

In some situations, you are required to disclose that you use AI in the workplace. That disclosure might be to clients or employees. For example, both Illinois and New York City have implemented regulations regarding the use of AI in certain human resources tasks. AI can produce biased results, which can lead to violations of discrimination laws if the analysis and results are not carefully reviewed.

Businesses and entrepreneurs may also want to carefully vet anything AI produces before using it or passing it along to others. For example, if AI generates images or content, be sure to review it for copyright or trademark infringement concerns before distributing it to anyone.

How can you detect unauthorized use of AI?

It is difficult to detect the use of AI. Even AI writing or content can sound just like natural language, making it difficult to discern between human work products and AI outputs. Because AI learns from human-produced information, it naturally takes on human characteristics (which is by design).

There are online AI checkers for content, but they are not foolproof. These detection tools are still being developed, so they may not work particularly well, and they may not provide the types of checking your business requires. Instead, you may need to simply get to know your employees’ regular work product. A shift in productivity or how information is presented can indicate a new use of AI.

AI must be reviewed by a human to be effective. Although machine learning and algorithms have their place, they often cannot replace work from human data scientists or the human touch of productive decision-making. There is a lot of buzz around AI, but at the end of the day, it is a tool, just like the many other tools that employees use day in and day out.

If you have questions about AI Workplace Use Policies or how AI may need to be restricted in your business, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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