Using Generative AI at work

Employees love to use the technology at work.

Because it makes their job easier.

* Research
* Gathering information
* Putting together presentations

All of these are made easier by generative AI like ChatGPT and others.

But they have to keep it secret.
Their employers do not allow it.

But workers do find ways to access the technology covertly.

And working from home have made that much easier.

Studies done by a professional networks show 68% of employees who use AI do not tell their bosses about it.

Business leaders are concerned about their organizations’ data.

Sensitive, important company information can end-up in the wrong hands.

The pluses and minuses of using technology at work.

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They know before we do


“The United States military has long taken climate change seriously, both for its potential impacts on troops and infrastructure around the world and for its potential to cause political instability in other countries.”

The above excerpt is from NY Times. The article is about the findings of a report on current and future climate changes.
The report “is being reviewed by an expert committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.”

Depending on who you ask climate change is “nothing to worry about’ or “it’s a significant problem.”

Taking a heavy toll on our resources
Flooding, fires, and other natural or manmade disasters — in the aftermath we need to repair existing systems.
Or develop new ones.
Humanitarian assistance and disaster aid is needed — locally or globally.

All of these, at the very least, it’s taking a heavy toll on our resources.

It makes for a much better sleep at night
In the news there is a lot of talk about trade. We talk a lot about our interconnected economies — with China and other countries.
We talk less how these countries affect the air we breathe.

Yet science journals have published studies showing emissions from China’s production plants are carried across the ocean to United States.
What about those cities in Asia that are so polluted their people need to wear a mask when they go outside?
Many of of us choose to think that’s “their” problem.

It makes for a much better sleep at night.

None. It was quiet
Several years ago two friends of mine were telling me about their vacation in Asia.
While they were there they went on a river cruise.
They remember feeling something was odd but they couldn’t figure what it was.
Then it dawned on them: there were no birds chirping.
None. It was quiet. Dead quiet.

Because of their respiratory system, birds “know” before we do.

The canary in the coal mine.

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Weapons of Mass Manipulation

The question is, once you start to monopolize what people are thinking about, is that actually good for society? What is that vulnerable to? Where could that go wrong?”

These are questions asked by a former Google employee, Tristan Harris. He talks about the gadgets we use; and the time we spend on social media.

MIT Technology Review and The Atlantic quoted him:

So, it’s not about giving you all this freedom. It’s about sucking you in to take your time.
For any company whose business model is advertising, or engagement-based advertising,
meaning they care about the amount of time someone spends on the product,
they make more money the more time people spend.

So, the game becomes, how can I throw different persuasive techniques to get people to stay,
to spend as long as possible, and to come back tomorrow?

Now, the founder of Time Well Spent, he’s asking the tech industry to bring “ethical designs” to its products. Harris is asking his peers to think differently when designing apps. He is asking them to think what’s in the best interest of consumers.

According to the MIT Technology Review, “ Facebook is reportedly letting some brands try sifting through public posts and comments (sans usernames) to help them target users.”

Of his time at Google, as one who helped design the Gmail inbox app, Harris says:

…never before in history have 50, mostly male, 20-to-35-year-old designers,
working at three tech companies,
influenced how a billion people spend their time.

He describes some of the apps used by social media platforms: they are designed using the same basic principles used when designing slot machines for casinos.

Next time when you use your smartphone, on your favorite sites, ask yourself:
Are you using them?
Or are they using you?

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Do these jeans…

It’s used by shopping malls.
Law enforcement.
In China they use it in banks, transportation.

I’m talking about face recognition.
The use of technology to match faces with identities.
But it can do much more than that.

AI algorithms are used to analyze facial expressions.
And detect ethnicity, level of intelligence, and more.

This is a powerful tool to have at our disposal.
There are many concerns, of course.

I can see this tool really be misused around holidays.
The time when you are going from one holiday party to another.
Delicious food, chocolates, cookies, and more of the same.

At some point, your jeans are getting too snug.
You turn to your significant other, and ask,
“Do these jeans make me look fat?”

You get the obligatory, “Of course not!”
But then that face-reading tool counteracts with, “Liar! Liar!”
Ruining a perfectly good relationship : )

On a more serious note, this indeed is a powerful tool.
To prevent misuses we need to have built-in safety measures.

Face recognition technology has great many uses.
Including detecting and diagnosing rare genetic conditions.
And can help people with autism.

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Haven’t we heard this before?!

Big Pharma is facing multiple lawsuits.
The latest, filed by the state of Ohio, accuses the drug companies of unleashing a
“health care crisis that has far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences.”

The Opioid Epidemic, or as some call it,
“This Generation’s AIDS Crisis” refers to the increase use of prescription and non-prescription opioids by Americans.
Purdue Pharma, Allergan, and Johnsons & Johnson are few of the companies named in the lawsuit filed by Ohio State.
The drug companies are accused, among other things, of running marketing campaigns that exaggerate benefits and downplay the risks of addiction.

Hmmm — haven’t we heard this before?!

Of course we have.
The 1990s lawsuits against the tobacco companies.
The industry’s denial that smoking affects health and can cause cancer.
And, later, the finding of their internal memos confirming they knew nicotine is addictive and carcinogenic.
Yet they kept it hidden for decades.

Winning the battle against the tobacco industry has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of smokers.
(Due largely to restricted tobacco advertising and increase-awareness campaigns.)

By all accounts, the Opioids Epidemic is far more complex.
That only means we need to work harder to solve it.

Start with educating patients of the risks of addiction.
(Many are not aware of it.)
Share responsibility and form partnerships: patients, doctors, law makers and law enforcement.

Working together we can curtail this epidemic.
Working together we can solve many other difficult problems we face.

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