The taming of your AI workplace dragon

Is artificial intelligence friend or foe? The answer hinges on how an organisation trains and deploys its AI dragon.

Time to read: 4 mins

Sam Altman – chief executive of OpenAI, the company behind generative AI sensation ChatGPT – addressed the US Senate last week about the potential for catastrophic harms from the new technology and called for a new government agency to be created to regulate the sector.

His comments highlight some of the concerns held in the community about the rapid evolution of generative AI technologies, which includes the governance piece that will be critical to the safe and effective use of AI in business.

Baker Tilly Digital director Meghan Loomis, who leads the international digital strategic market, was in Auckland last week for the Baker Tilly Network Asia Pacific conference where she presented a session on AI and its impact on the professional services industry. 

She has been working alongside the team developing Baker Tilly Digital’s "Responsible Use of AI Framework", a service offering to guide clients in responsible investment in this space based on five pillars – accountable, transparent, fair and ethical, secure and reliable, and explainable.

“Our framework is about helping clients start from the beginning with the end in mind, and looking at how can they create accountability and transparency, and really set themselves up to use AI responsibly,” she says.

“At the moment, limited standards exist and companies need to create that standard based on regulatory requirements that do exist today and start prepping for the future. That means thinking about security, proper use cases and being able to really explain how you're using AI.”

A paper released by New Zealand’s AI Forum in 2018 predicted that AI will increase New Zealand's GDP by NZD$54 billion and one of its attractions to business is around saving time, a valued commodity for organisations struggling with resource constraints.

Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Audit & Assurance Services national technical manager René Lamprecht says AI could potentially be a saviour for time- and resource-poor organisations but training is necessary to protect sensitive information being unwittingly shared.

We want to free up time, we want to get things done faster and quicker, so that we can move on to something else,” she says. “But even when you upload those meeting notes and ask ChatGPT to take the minutes for you, you need to be very careful with what you’re sharing and what you want released to the public, and that comes down to training.

“Just like leaving your financial statements on a table in a coffee shop, don’t share something you would not want other people to see.”

Generative AI is here to stay. Pitchbook estimates nearly $1.4 billion was raised in generative AI funding in 2022 — which looks set to be easily surpassed, given nearly $700 million has been raised already in 2023.

Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Taranaki Specialist Services director Rob McEwan, who leads our Business Computer Services division in New Zealand, says that as with digital strategy, protecting data and privacy must be front and centre.

But he is confident that generative AI presents more as an opportunity than a threat. 

“Good governance comes back to how do you control things like your intellectual property, how you make sure what you're doing with AI is going to protect your IP and your data, and the privacy implications if you're using customer data,” he says.

“Those are the things that you got to be very careful to look at, because you don't want to be loading up into some share model, which is what ChatGPT is.

“You got to remember where you're putting it and be absolutely certain as to who's got access to that data that you're putting in there, and that it’s secure.

“From a strategy point of view, you should be putting AI into your strategic planning to be aware of it or to look for opportunities. I wouldn’t be putting it in the threats column of a SWOT analysis yet, it really sits in the opportunity section.”

DISCLAIMER No liability is assumed by Baker Tilly Staples Rodway for any losses suffered by any person relying directly or indirectly upon any article within this website. It is recommended that you consult your advisor before acting on this information.

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