April 14, 2023

Gerald Hathaway Discusses Implications of ChatGPT for Employers With Minnesota Lawyer

In “Chatbots Yield Brave New World for Employers,” Minnesota Lawyer spoke to labor and employment partner Gerald Hathaway about the implications of ChatGPT for employers.

“ChatGPT is not perfect. It tends to give simple answers that are not always correct. The use of only ChatGPT takes the human judgment factor out of the process, and the human judgment factor is important,” explained Hathaway. “If it is to be used, it should be overseen by a human analyst.”

According to Hathaway, there are some employers who are embracing ChatGPT. “Perhaps some small employers think that usage is putting them on the cutting edge of technology, and so they so may encourage the use, perhaps as an experiment, for now. But larger companies view the use purely as an experiment, to see how it does,” he said.

“Many companies are simply forbidding employees to rely on, or even use, ChatGPT for work-related tasks,” explained Hathaway. ”A company is free to enforce its rules, and it can mete out discipline, including termination, if an employee does not follow a company’s directive.”

Hathaway also noted that the algorithms that make up ChatGPT do not replace a well-trained legal mind, at least not yet. He added, “Employers engage employees for the employees’ talents, acumen and judgment. If an employee uses ChatGPT or another AI service for the employee’s output, the employer is not getting what it bargained for.”

The article also highlighted the privacy-related risks around the use of generative AI. “ChatGPT runs roughshod over IP rights, and it may use protected works in the creation of its output. A human relying on ChatGPT may not be aware that the output is actually an unlawful derivative work based on copyrighted material. That can expose the company to damages for copyright infringement,” commented Hathaway.

“The processing algorithms are collectively pretty much a black box, and since the process cannot, practically, be reconstructed, the output cannot be solidly defended, particularly if it is used to make decisions that gets legally challenged,” he added.

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