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Exploring generative AI: Balancing innovation and privacy

Fri, 14th Jul 2023

In today's rapidly evolving and advancing tech landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) wields immense potential to transform industries while revolutionising how we work and live. However, powerful AI tools and apps, such as ChatGPT, are quickly changing the cybersecurity and privacy landscape.

From privacy concerns, such as data breaches, to ransomware attacks, privacy and cybersecurity threats are a growing challenge facing businesses and companies worldwide. However, as AI technology becomes increasingly prevalent, it is vital to examine the ethical ramifications and key responsibilities associated with its development as well as application.

You may know that hackers and other malicious actors are using artificial intelligence. Just as businesses and companies harness the power of AI to drive innovation and efficiency, so too do cybercriminals and hackers seek to exploit its capabilities for their nefarious purposes. Did you know that OpenAI caused controversy when the company officially released a public-facing version of ChatGPT?

While ChatGPT is a powerful and valuable AI chatbot that will quickly impress you, many professionals have pointed out that this tool has some serious pitfalls. From privacy concerns and security breaches to the undisclosed data ChatGPT was trained on, there are many concerns about this AI-powered chatbot.

For instance, in March 2023, because of a security breach, some ChatGPT users saw conversation headings in their sidebars that did not belong to them. Accidental or inadvertent sharing of users' chat histories poses a significant concern for any technology company. However, it becomes particularly problematic given the widespread usage and popularity of this popular chatbot.

According to Reuters, ChatGPT had about 100 million monthly active users by the end of January 2023. Although OpenAI patched the bug that caused the data breach, an Italian data privacy regulator demanded that the company cease all operations that processed the data of Italian users.

Also, ChatGPT's model was trained on the collective writing of human beings worldwide, with reinforcement learning via human feedback and reward models. These models rank the best responses. Unfortunately, this indicates that the same biases that plague the real world can also impact the model. In some cases, ChatGPT has produced terrible answers that discriminate against race, gender, and minority groups, which OpenAI is trying to mitigate.

As more organisations and people continue experimenting with ChatGPT's impressive and unprecedented capabilities and features, the topic of generative artificial intelligence has made headlines. AI has kicked off new debates about potential benefits and risks and the broader implications it will likely have on businesses and overall society.

Today, we explore the realm of generative AI and its revolutionary offspring, ChatGPT. While the possibilities and opportunities seem endless, it's crucial to address the paramount data protection and privacy concerns. In collaboration with our esteemed partner, Netskope, we unravel the complexities of this dynamic landscape.

Moving Past the Dystopian View of AI Technology

Popular science-fiction films depict a dystopian view of AI technology. However, real-world applications of AI are more nuanced and complex.

A good example is ChatGPT. Amassing about 100 million active monthly users only two months after going live, ChatGPT is now easily the fastest-growing and most popular consumer application ever.

AI has emerged as a powerful and revolutionary force that is reshaping industries, revolutionising processes, and redefining what's possible.

However, as with any new or breakthrough technology, you must understand the potential risks that come along with it. Private citizens and businesses should not use the tool without completely understanding its data privacy and ownership issues and consequences.

While some companies and organisations are banning ChatGPT and similar tools, we think generative artificial intelligence can unlock your employees' creativity and efficiency in the way that tools such as personal computers, mobile devices, and the Internet have in the past. You can use generative AI technology like ChatGPT while keeping your company's critical data secure.

Does ChatGPT Collect Data?

ChatGPT collects IP addresses and other data like browser types and settings. It uses cookies to track browsing activities. ChatGPT could share all this information or data with its vendors or third parties without notice.

Another important privacy concern is that the program automatically opts everyone in to allow OpenAI's trainers to include prompt data in the model. Although ChatGPT states it offers an opt-out feature in its comprehensive terms and conditions for data collection and management, it also notes that opting out might limit the type of answers users receive.

Essentially, users who decide not to contribute their personal data to model training cannot retain their chat history. This may disincentivise users from opting out since losing access to previous responses, and conversations can considerably impact the user experience and the type of answers users receive.

To use ChatGPT or other generative AI technologies, businesses should carefully vet the service, consider security protocols, data handling, and the future of collected data.

Positive Impacts on Industry

Studies by MIT researchers show that ChatGPT significantly increases productivity and reduces task times. It benefits individuals with poor writing and communication skills.

The experiment involved 444 college-educated professionals who were assigned occupation-specific writing tasks. The participants were randomly divided into two groups, with one group having access to ChatGPT for their second task.

The results showed that participants who used ChatGPT became significantly more productive in less time. The intervention increased productivity by 37%, reducing task times by 10 minutes. Participants spent less time drafting and more time editing when using ChatGPT. The increase in productivity was observed across the entire task.

However, ChatGPT may lack context-specific knowledge for certain professional domains, highlighting the limitations of generative AI systems.

The researchers concluded that generative AI technologies like ChatGPT have the potential to noticeably impact workers and labour markets. They suggest that future research is needed to fully understand the implications of these technologies in the long term. Overall, the findings indicate that generative AI can enhance productivity and potentially expand the labour market for individuals with strong idea-generating skills.

Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term implications of generative AI on workers and labour markets.

Business Threats and Challenges

Generative AI tools introduce new threats and challenges for enterprises:

  • Synthetic Media and Deepfakes: Creating realistic fake media content can lead to reputational damage, fraud, and disinformation.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Theft: Generative AI can potentially be used to reverse-engineer proprietary algorithms or designs, leading to IP theft.
  • Social Engineering and Advanced Phishing Attacks: AI models can create highly convincing phishing messages, making it challenging to differentiate legitimate communication from malicious attacks.
  • Other Risks and Issues: Widespread use of generative AI can erode trust in digital content, optimise and automate cyberattacks, and create new regulatory challenges.

The Missing Link: Empowering Australian and UK Businesses for Over 25 Years

The Missing Link has been providing IT and Cloud, Cyber Security, and Automation solutions for more than two decades. We understand the risks and challenges associated with generative AI tools like ChatGPT. Our dedication to helping businesses realise their full potential has earned us recognition as one of Australia's most awarded providers.

We advocate for responsible access to generative AI tools, combining cultural orientation with modern data loss prevention (DLP) technology to leverage the benefits without compromising sensitive data.

With a team of more than 180 local experts and strong vendor relationships, we consistently deliver premium results and maintain an exceptional Customer Satisfaction Score.

We consider AI and generative tools, such as ChatGPT or Bard, disruptive technologies which organisations can leverage, provided they take suitable measures. We also understand the risks and challenges our customers are working hard to mitigate.

We would like to help your employees and teams embrace generative AI tools and all the creativity and efficiency they bring with our automation and security solutions.

Navigating the Sensitive Data Landscape

Netskope Threat Labs analysed data from four weeks, revealing interesting insights into the posting behaviour of enterprise users. They found that source code, intellectual property, passwords and keys, and regulated data were among the most frequently posted types of sensitive information.

With hundreds of posts per 10 thousand enterprise users, the potential risks of data exposure are evident. However, Netskope's comprehensive data protection solutions, including application access control, real-time user coaching, and advanced DLP capabilities, offer a secure framework for enabling the responsible use of ChatGPT.

The Privacy Predicament

Privacy is a paramount concern in the realm of generative AI. Users and organisations must exercise caution when sharing sensitive information and understand the limitations of data security provided by ChatGPT.

Embracing the Power of AI while Upholding Privacy

As we celebrate AI Day, it's crucial to protect sensitive data while embracing the power of AI. At The Missing Link and Netskope, we understand and recognise that prohibitive measures may stifle innovation and creativity, leaving businesses trailing behind the curve. Instead, we advocate for responsible access to ChatGPT and other tools, combining the right cultural orientation with modern DLP technology.

By fostering a culture of understanding and education, we empower businesses to leverage the benefits of generative AI without compromising sensitive data.

Let us embrace AI's potential while safeguarding privacy as an integral part of the innovation journey.