Many UK Organisations are Considering Banning ChatGPT: Is it a Step Too Far?

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New studies on generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies by Blackberry reported that many UK organisations are considering banning ChatGPT, amongst others. The survey with 2,000 IT decision-makers in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and Japan found that 75% are considering the ban. 

Among those considering the ban, 61% are considering long-term or permanent measures. 

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This year we have seen the rise of generative technologies such as ChatGPT, a platform under OpenAI. ChatGPT was introduced as a conversational model that can answer questions in a dialogue format. Following its popularity, many other artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies have risen as well. 

Through its abilities, many have used this emerging technology to support their work as it can identify mistakes and improve the quality of writing and code. 

Although powerful and useful, ChatGPT still has some limitations. According to OpenAI, the model will still give nonsensical answers that can seem plausible. Additionally, the platform is also still ridden with biases. 

Still, it has proven to be an effective platform that has 100 million users in 2023. Further, in June 2023 their website hit 1.6 billion visits. 

Blackberry Study Findings 

The Blackberry report explained that the top reasons companies are banning ChatGPT are due to potential data security and privacy risks (67%) and risks to corporate reputation (57%). 

Concerns about data security are valid, as this is still a new technology that is in development. In a separate blog post, Blackberry explained that inputting sensitive information into AI chatbots may lead to incorporating it into its data model. Thus, if anyone else asks a relevant question it might be revealed. 

Further, the Blackberry study highlights the fact that the people pushing these bans are mostly those in technical leadership. The report shows that 72% of CIOs and equivalent leaders as well as 48% of CEOs are considering the ban. 

Although concerned with data security, technical leaders are still aware of the potential of using generative AI technologies. Many of them believe that it can increase efficiency (55%), innovation (52%) and enhance creativity (51%).

The ChatGPT Ban 

The banning of ChatGPT has been seen in many companies. This includes Samsung, which has banned employees to use generative AI technologies after an incident where an engineer copied and pasted sensitive source code into ChatGPT. 

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In January, Amazon puts a ban on ChatGPT and urged its employees to use their in-house AI called CodeWhisperer which is intended for coding advice. 

Apple has also restricted the use of ChatGPT for some employees that are involved with sensitive information. They are also developing their own generative AI model to rival ChatGPT. 

This shows that at the moment, ChatGPT should be used carefully by organisations to avoid potential risks. Outrightly banning the platform may mean that they won’t be able to leverage the benefits. However, in matters concerning data security, companies should have their own evaluation of the latest technologies to decide if they are suitable for them.


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