The rise of artificial intelligence is hardly a new trend, but the emergence of new easy-to-use, ultra-smart programs like ChatGPT have made it all the more possible for companies to build it into their business models — whether their employees are ready for it or not.
Thirty-five percent of U.S. employees say that their work responsibilities have changed due to AI tools, according to a new study conducted by learning management system Epignosis. As a result, 49% of employees say they need training on using AI tools like ChatGPT in order to do their job, yet only 14% reported having received such training so far.
“Unlike the hype and false promises around artificial intelligence that we have seen in the past, ChatGPT is the first AI technology that has truly captured people’s attention and generated excitement about its potential,” says Thanos Papangelis, co-founder and CEO of Epignosis. “It’s the first practical product that has the ability to understand natural language and generate high quality human-like responses, which makes it an excellent tool for automating various tasks.”
Read more: What ChatGPT means for the future of work
Thirty-six percent of employees find ChatGPT useful for writing content, 33% for analyzing data and information, 30% for customer support and 27% for brainstorming new ideas. The benefits have been so widespread that companies including Microsoft — which has invested in ChatGPT innovator OpenAI — will use the latest version of the product, GPT-4, to automate Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word.
In the same vein, the growing fascination has concerned many HR departments about the virtual safety of their employees and their clients. In a recent survey by consulting firm Gartner, half of human resource leaders said they’re in the process of formulating guidance on employees’ use of ChatGPT in an effort to avoid copyright infringements and loss of data privacy.
“Even though tools like ChatGPT are very user-friendly and intuitive, the quality of answers they give depends largely on the quality and precision of the command prompts they get — mastering the art of AI prompts is definitely something that training should include,” says Papangelis. “And because no tool is perfect, employees should also learn how to avoid relying on potentially biased or incorrect information, and fact-check their answers.”
Technology isn’t immune to human error, afterall. In fact, lack of employee training is behind 80% of company data breaches, according to a 2022 report by cybersecurity resource platform SANS. Making sure that employees fully understand the scope of ChatGPT is critical in ensuring it’s used to its full potential.
“Training should cover topics such as ethics and privacy concerns related to the use of AI in the workplace,” Papangelis says. “Research already shows that employees have pasted confidential company data in ChatGPT, which the platform then incorporates into its publicly-available knowledge base.”
Despite the lack of training, ChatGPT continues to move the needle on the automation trend — 69% of employees estimate that over time, most daily tasks will be done with the help of AI. If the reason that companies aren’t investing in training is due to the perception that the use of AI will dwindle, Papangelis urges them to reconsider their stance before it costs them.
“Eventually, every software, service and human experience will take on an AI angle,” he says. “It’s the companies who will embrace it and prepare their teams adequately will get a huge productivity boost and remain competitive.”