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With Gov. Newsom issuing an executive order this week on the state’s use of artificial intelligence, many of our friends and clients are looking more closely at this emerging technology and wondering what it means for them.LPA shed a little light on this complex subject by hosting a conversation Thursday with Peter Bittner, a journalist, educator and expert on the topic.

Here are a few key takeaways and some things you should be thinking about:

  • AI applications – especially tools like ChatGPT and Bing Chat – are developing so fast that government, the communications industry and the business world are struggling to keep up. These “generative AI” platforms could represent the biggest economic force since the invention of the World Wide Web. 
  • Generative AI is a disruptive technology that can produce automated multimedia content, revolutionizing production and distribution. It can also create smooth, efficient animations from sketches or text, potentially transforming advertising, film, and gaming industries.
  • Generative AI also makes it possible to automate news reporting and data analysis. This facilitates insightful reporting but raises questions about ethics and accuracy.
  • The new tools have been designed by an industry largely dominated by White males – and may reflect overt and subtle biases of the people behind the technology.
  • AI probably isn’t coming for your job or your company this year. But beware: the early adopters paying close attention to the technology will soon be using it to compete with your firm. 

What should you be thinking about?

  • Train your employees. Surveys show most workers want to use AI to help them in their jobs but they don’t understand it and don’t know how it works.
  • Develop guidelines. Workplaces need consistent guardrails to ensure that generative AI is used carefully and ethically.
  • Consider a legal review to confirm that your policies and contracts reflect the latest developments. Example: who is responsible if a contractor uses information generated by AI that turns out to be false or libelous?

Perhaps most importantly, fact-check everything! Think of generative AI as a very advanced auto-complete tool like the one in your email program that suggests text to complete a sentence. It’s not an interactive encyclopedia that spits out facts. It’s a massive program that makes an educated guess based on everything that’s been fed into it from the Internet. For more information, see The Upgrade, Peter Bittner’s weekly newsletter, which promises insights on AI that go “beyond the hype.”