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Ask the Expert: AI in the workplace

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Each month we will be asking a question on a hot topic to one of our employment specialists. This month, Daniel Smith, Senior Associate considers the topic of AI in the workplace!

“If we suspect our team are using AI (such as ChatGPT) to create their work, does this create any problems? Can we set rules around the use of AI at work and what are any legal considerations we should consider in doing so?”

AI is an inescapable part of today’s landscape and has the potential to be play a valuable role in your business; so if staff are experimenting with AI that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It must however be recognised that AI, as things stand, has significant limitations. 

In simple terms, AI does as it is instructed to do. How it is commanded is imperative to its success or otherwise. It is also still very early days in the development of AI, and many of the “free-to-use” AI chatbots gather information from outdated sources from across the web.

If we take the example of using AI to create an employee handbook and policy suite, there are some obvious concerns. Whilst AI might make a decent fist of producing a ‘vanilla’ policy:

  1. It will not ensure that the policy works for your organisation or aligns with the way you do things / your employee offering;
  2. It will not prompt you when policies need updating; 
  3. It will not automatically ensure that the policy reflects current UK laws and regulations, which could leave you exposed to risk of things like employment tribunal claims. 

Issues such as these, will apply to lots of different types of work. In its current form, AI is not a substitute for human expertise and knowledge and the use of AI in the workplace needs to be governed and monitored. Setting out a clear policy detailing rules around acceptable use of AI, and the consequences of not following these rules, will allow effective management and ensure that everyone who is using it knows the limitations of AI and the boundaries and consequences of using it in the workplace, particularly as a sole means of creating work without any further human input.