ChatGPT Content AI

Critical time for critical thinking

Ethical considerations for ChatGPT in the workplace

Ruth Ní Bheoláin, Manager, Consulting
ChatGPT Content AI

ChatGPT is a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has become part of everyday discourse over the last several months. It is a natural language processing tool that uses machine learning to generate responses to user input in a conversation. It is based on the GPT-3 language model developed by OpenAI. Simply put, if you ask ChatGPT to complete a text-based task for you, it will produce an answer based on the data it has already processed and learned. For example, I have used ChatGPT to produce draft content for this article that I have subsequently edited for accuracy, clarity, and coherency of narrative. A cursory search on Twitter or LinkedIn for the hashtag “#ChatGPT” will help you to find several innovative applications of this AI across various disciplines – many of which are posing serious ethical risks in areas such as academic integrity.

ChatGPT is a powerful tool but as with all power, it comes with a great ethical responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. My musings in this article are underpinned by a fundamental principle: ChatGPT should be used as a tool to complement, not replace, critical thinking. In this blog post, I outline the innovative ways ChatGPT could positively disrupt the workplace, the risks and limitations of using ChatGPT, and how ChatGPT can be used ethically and transparently.

Innovative ways ChatGPT could positively disrupt the workplace

ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionise the way we work by providing real-time assistance and generating accurate and up-to-date information. When considering its use, I consider its potential as a workplace helper rather than a replacement for key skills and roles. The use of this AI can free up vital time for critical thinking and creative work.

I asked ChatGPT to outline ways it could be used in various workplace environments, and curated some examples based on the suggestions it provided. Here are some examples of how ChatGPT could be used to positively influence the way we work:

Use of ChatGPT in Consulting Description
As a customer service tool ChatGPT could be used to handle customer inquiries and provide personalised responses in real-time.
 As a brainstorming tool ChatGPT could be used to generate ideas and suggestions for consulting projects by prompting the user with specific questions and topics.
As a training tool 
ChatGPT could be used to create interactive training modules or quizzes for new hires or clients.
As a virtual assisstant ChatGPT could be used to handle scheduling, email management, and other administrative tasks.
As a presentation coach ChatGPT could be used to provide feedback and suggestions for improving presentation skills. 
As a research assistant ChatGPT could be used to help gather and organise research for projects.
As a writing coach ChatGPT could be used to provide feedback and suggestions for improving writing skills.
As a business development tool ChatGPT could be used to help identify new business opportunities and generate leads 
 As a virtual mentor ChatGPT could be used to provide guidance and support.
As a financial planning tool ChatGPT could be used to help consultants and their clients develop financial plans and projections.
As a real-time assistant ChatGPT could provide quick and accurate responses to questions or data requests during client meetings.
As a frequently asked questions chatbot ChatGPT could quickly provide accurate responses to common questions, freeing up time typically spent responding to queries.
As a data analysis tool ChatGPT could help identify patterns and trends in large datasets, informing decision-making

You may notice a trend in the above examples. This comes back to my earlier point that ChatGPT should be used to complement, but not replace, critical thinking. It can help us save time in ideas-generating, planning, and critical review, but ChatGPT should not be treated as an all-knowing entity. Limitations specific to the use of ChatGPT include:

Limitation/Risk Description
Lack of understanding of context or nuance ChatGPT may not understand the context or nuance of a conversation and could provide inappropriate or irrelevant response.
Dependence on training data  The tool is only as good as the data it is trained on, so there is a risk of it producing biased or incomplete results.
Lack of creativity or new ideas  ChatGPT is not able to think creatively or come up with new ideas on its own. It can only generate responses based on its training. 

Risks of using ChatGPT

As with any technology, using ChatGPT comes with a measure of risk that needs to be considered and mitigated against in each organisational context. Once again, I asked ChatGPT to outlines risks associated with its use (even going as far as to ask it to provide these risks in table format including descriptions). Risks for consideration include:

Risk Description
Accuracy ChatGPT is not perfect and may produce inaccurate or misleading responses at times.
Bias ChatGPT is trained on a dataset that reflects the biases and societal norms of the people who generated the text.
Dependence If an organization becomes too reliant on ChatGPT, it may become difficult to make decisions or take actions without its input.
Security ChatGPT relies on advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, and it is important to ensure that these technologies are used securely and in a way that protects against unauthorised access or tampering.
Cost ChatGPT may require significant resources to implement and maintain, including the cost of hardware, software, and personnel.
Compatibility ChatGPT may not be compatible with all systems and technologies.
Reputation The use of ChatGPT may impact the reputation of an organisation, either positively or negatively, depending on how it is used and perceived by stakeholders.
Data privacy ChatGPT processes large amounts of data in order to generate responses, and it is important to ensure that this data is handled responsibly and in accordance with relevant data privacy laws and regulations.
Misuse As with any tool, ChatGPT can be used irresponsibly.
Resistance to change Some people may resist the adoption of ChatGPT and other new technologies.
Loss of critical thinking skills Dependence on the tool could lead to a reduction in critical thinking skills among consultants.
Confidential or sensitive information being accessed If the tool is not securely implemented, there is a risk of confidential or sensitive information being accessed by unauthorised users.

Leading ethically: Getting ready to use ChatGPT

We can mitigate against the risks of using ChatGPT through ethical leadership practices and acting transparently. Ethical leadership can help promote both internal and external stakeholder trust in our use of any artificial intelligence. It involves setting a good example and behaving in a way that is morally and ethically correct – fundamentally showing that we are acting with integrity at the core of our activities. If we are going to use ChatGPT in the workplace, we need to be clear from the outset how we intend to use it and what systems we are going to put in place to ensure that it is used in an ethical manner.

Here are some ways you can demonstrate ethical leadership and transparency using ChatGPT:

Ethical Action Description Example 
Communicate openly and honestly  Share accurate and complete information with your team, and be open about your actions and decisions. "I wanted to let everyone know that we are trialling the use of ChatGPT to enhance the efficiency of everyday work tasks and free up your time to focus on meaningful work. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this change."
Make decisions with integrity Consider the ethical implications of your decisions, and choose the course of action that is most ethical, even if it is not the easiest or most convenient option. "Integrating ChatGPT into our work in an ethical way is a priority for us. We have developed ethical principles that will underpin all work using ChatGPT, and accompanying guidelines will be developed to ensure clear expectations are set for what we feel are appropriate uses of ChatGPT, and also for what we feel is beyond scope of use, in our organisation.”
Treat others with respect Show respect for your team members and colleagues, even if you disagree with them. "I understand that some of you may have concerns about the integration of ChatGPT into your work tasks. Can we set up a meeting to discuss these concerns and find a way to address them together?"
Lead by example  Set a good example for your team by demonstrating ethical behaviour in all of your actions. "I want to make sure that we are using ChatGPT in a way that is fair and respectful to everyone on the team. If you see any instances where this is not the case, please let me know so we can address it."
Take responsibility for your actions If you make a mistake, own up to it and take steps to correct it. "I made a mistake in the instructions I gave to ChatGPT, and as a result, we ended up with some incorrect outputs. I will take responsibility for this error and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Disclose the use of ChatGPT to relevant sakeholders Make sure that relevant stakeholders, such as employees, customers, or clients, are aware of the use of ChatGPT. “We are currently trialling the use of ChatGPT to improve administrative efficiency, including producing draft content for our marketing material. As we progress with this trial, we will be transparent about the areas of work that are being supported by this technology.”
Explain how decisions made using ChatGPT will be evaluated Be transparent about how decisions made using ChatGPT will be evaluated, and make sure that there are clear criteria in place for assessing the accuracy and effectiveness of these decisions. “When we use ChatGPT for ideas generation or producing sample content, it is rigorously reviewed and checked for accuracy. Our aim is to use ChatGPT to free up time for critical work and creativity, rather than have it do creative work for us.”

In conclusion, ChatGPT has the potential to save time and promote critical thinking in the workplace through many innovative uses. However, it is important to use the tool ethically and transparently, with a focus on building trust and responsible use. ChatGPT should be used as a tool to complement, not replace, human judgment and analysis. Ethical leadership is key in ensuring the responsible and effective use of this technology and leading by example to promote the development of employees for the future of work