The risks of ChatGPT for your business

ChatGPT is a software tool that shares information and generates text using artificial intelligence (AI). This type of tool offers entrepreneurs many new possibilities. For example, generating new content ideas, writing software code, or writing press releases. Because ChatGPT is still in development, the risks of its use are not yet fully clear. Jochem ten Böhmer, an education expert from the HAN University of Applied Sciences, discusses some of the possible risks for businesses.

Together with another AI expert, Ten Böhmer holds workshops on the safe use of ChatGPT. He advises caution when using the app. “To use ChatGPT responsibly, you need to understand how the software works,” says Ten Böhmer.

How does ChatGPT work?

ChatGPT is a free chatbot that uses artificial intelligence, also known as AI, to generate texts. You can install the app on your smartphone or device, or use the website. The app appears as a chat window where you can ask a question. Such a question is called a ‘prompt’. An example of a prompt is: ‘What is a popular recipe with hazelnuts?’ Or you can ask ChatGPT to write the answer in a specific style. Such as, ‘Write a blog post about a recipe with hazelnuts.’ You can also ask it to summarise reports and other lengthy reading materials for you. ChatGPT looks like a search engine, but it is actually something else.

Ten Böhmer explains: “ChatGPT is itself not a source of knowledge. The app generates its answers based on existing information. It builds on these answers with statistically logical data. This means that the app uses the most common information and answers found on the internet to answer a question. For example, if you type ‘You put milk and sugar in...’, ChatGPT gives the answer ‘coffee’. This is because ‘coffee’ is the answer that the app most often sees associated with the words ‘milk’ and ‘sugar’ on the internet.”

Rules and Risks

There is no specific legislation about the use of ChatGPT at the moment. However, using ChatGPT for your business can violate rules if you are not careful. Therefore, always consider the following rules and risks:

Copyright

Because it generates answers based on gathered information, ChatGPT uses texts that may be subject to copyright. Using copyrighted text without permission is illegal. You also do not hold the copyright for the text you create using ChatGPT. For example, if you own a shoe shop and you ask ChatGPT to write a blog post about the 5 most common issues with new shoes, and then a competitor asks the same question, they will receive the same text. You cannot accuse your competitor of using your content.

Data protection

ChatGPT does not meet the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules that apply in the Netherlands. The app is developed by an American company. Privacy laws in America differ from those in the Netherlands. Any information you enter into ChatGPT can end up in the wrong hands. Therefore, never enter any sensitive business information.

In Italy, the use of ChatGPT was temporarily banned because it does not protect the personal data entered. The Italian Data Protection Authority has since forced OpenAI to improve user privacy in its software. Users can now object to the use of their data.

Unreliable information

ChatGPT generates answers based on existing information on the internet. To do this, it collects a vast amount of data. The program’s artificial intelligence chooses which data to use. As a result, the text produced by ChatGPT may miss important information, or even use false information. Always verify the accuracy of the information ChatGPT generates. For example, by checking it yourself using a search engine.

Tip: If you are curious if a text was produced with ChatGPT, you can check this using an online AI detector.

Possible exclusion of target audiences

If you use ChatGPT for marketing purposes, make sure you do not exclude your target audiences. “Many entrepreneurs use the app to write website content or even conduct customer research,” says Ten Böhmer. “However, the data used by ChatGPT mainly comes from North America and Europe. This can lead to an incomplete picture of reality. If, for example, I ask ChatGPT about the characteristics of the average person booking a holiday, I will receive the characteristics of a customer in America and Europe.” Therefore, check that the text generated by ChatGPT does not exclude the target audience you need.

The impact on SEO

A text generated by ChatGPT may be ranked lower by search engines. Original texts are usually placed higher in search results. This is because ChatGPT collects content from the internet and stitches bits together. Google recognises this as pre-existing text, lowering your SEO score. This means your content will not be found as easily by internet users.

According to Ten Böhmer, however, ChatGPT can be used to improve the SEO score of your own text. Or to rewrite text in a specific style. For example, enter your text into ChatGPT and ask it to optimise it for search engines.

The future of ChatGPT

Agreements about the use of AI are currently being made at a European level. This will impact the use of ChatGPT. If you already use an AI software tool, consider that there may soon be new rules and regulations to follow.