Disinformation, propaganda, lies and biases—are AI chatbots all they are cut out to be?
As if social media wasn’t enough, people now have a new way—a companion, rather—to promote disinformation: AI chatbots. The buzz around ChatGPT might have convinced you of the benefits on offer. It can write your essays, help you flirt and craft business strategies. At the same time, it can also spread lies, further propaganda and biases and spread incorrect information. After all, in the end, it is trained by humans.
Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots have become increasingly popular in recent years, with businesses using them to streamline customer service and sales processes. Though they can be helpful for businesses, they also have significant risks. Here are some:
1. Spreading propaganda
AI chatbots can be programmed to generate content specifically designed to manipulate customers’ opinions and behaviors—something ChatGPT admits to. This content can take many forms, including fake reviews, social media posts and targeted advertisements. These manipulations aim to influence customers’ purchasing decisions in ways that harm the business.
For example, an AI chatbot may be programmed to generate fake negative reviews about your product to discourage customers from purchasing it. This type of propaganda can harm your business’s reputation and result in decreased sales.
To address this issue, businesses must be aware of the potential for AI-generated content to be manipulative and must proactively attempt to debunk any misinformation in the eyes of the customer. Here, the use of facts, science and creative marketing campaigns can be super helpful.
2. Bots and biases
AI chatbots can be racist, homophobic and downright discriminatory. That’s because they can be trained on large datasets that contain inherent biases, such as gender or racial biases. The chatbot can then amplify and perpetuate these biases, resulting in discriminatory outcomes. For example, an AI chatbot used by a job search website may be biased against women or people of color, resulting in fewer job opportunities for those groups.
Similarly, an AI chatbot used by a financial institution may be biased against specific demographics, leading to unfair treatment and discriminatory outcomes.
To mitigate this risk, businesses must carefully consider the data used to train their chatbots and regularly audit them for bias and discrimination.
3. Enabling cybercrimes
AI chatbots can also be used for malicious purposes, such as phishing attacks or other forms of cybercrime. Malicious actors can use AI chatbots to automate their attacks and make them more effective, such as using AI chatbots to send phishing emails or other forms of social engineering.
To address this risk, businesses must protect against cyberattacks by implementing robust security protocols, training employees on cybersecurity best practices and regularly auditing their chatbots for signs of malicious activity.
4. Frustrating lack of personal touch
Though not particularly dangerous for your business, the lack of personalization can prove detrimental to your overall success. AI chatbots often lack the personal touch that is necessary for effective customer service and sales. Chatbots can be programmed to provide generic responses to customer inquiries, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction.
For example, if a customer is experiencing a specific issue with a product or service, a chatbot may be unable to provide a satisfactory solution. This can result in decreased customer loyalty and lost sales.
To address this issue, businesses must ensure their chatbots are programmed to provide personalized and effective customer service. This may involve training the chatbot on a wide range of customer inquiries and providing it with access to relevant information and resources.
5. No human oversight
Babysitters and supervisors serve a purpose—to ensure that their subject does not run amok. However, AI chatbots lack such governance. When we asked ChatGPT how it could be dangerous, it dished out the abovementioned reasons. It also said, “It is important to use ChatGPT in conjunction with human oversight and input, in order to ensure that its responses align with ethical and moral standards.” These ethical and moral standards can be easily dismissed in the wrong hands. Plus, with most AI chatbots, there is a potential for errors or malfunctions due to a lack of human oversight. Chatbots can be complex systems requiring ongoing maintenance and updates to function properly.
For example, if a chatbot is not regularly audited for signs of bias or malicious activity, it may begin to generate inaccurate or harmful content. Similarly, if a chatbot is not regularly updated with new information and resources, it may become outdated and ineffective. Your business might end up using old information that can have negative consequences. To address this issue, businesses must ensure that their chatbots are regularly audited and updated by human professionals with the necessary expertise and training.
AI chatbots have the potential to change the game for businesses. They might even become an indispensable part of your company, assisting you with a range of jobs—from hiring and vetting candidates to gaining customer data and producing social media content. However, you cannot blindly rely on AI to see through all your needs lest it messes things up for your business. Businesses need a human army to oversee the robots to ensure they are performing their tasks correctly and ethically. Perhaps all those robot apocalypse movies knew this much all along.
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