Walmart has joined a growing number of industry leaders in warning its workers not to share company secrets with artificial intelligence phenomenon ChatGPT.
In an internal employee memo, the retail giant cautioned staff over the risks of the tech after it ‘noticed activity that presented risk to our company’.
ChatGPT has the ability to continually learn via data input from across the world, leading to fears it could leak private information about how top firms operate.
Despite concerns about its risks, Walmart Global Tech, the company’s technology and software engineering branch, added in the memo that it was planning to introduce the AI system in its day-to-day operations.
‘We’ve since taken the time to evaluate and develop a set of usage guidelines around generative AI tools and are now opening ChatGPT for usage within the Walmart network,’ it said.
Walmart has issued an ominous warning about the dangers of ChatGPT leaking confidential company data
ChatGPT, created by tech firm OpenAI, is able to continually learn and produce data sets based upon the information put into it by users
The memo, which was first reported by Insider, is the latest iteration of ChatGPT’s rise to prominence since it was released less than six months ago.
After it took the internet by storm, recording over a million users in its first week, the tech and its future versions have been increasingly touted for use in the workplace.
But while the eye-opening system is showing promise in fields including finance and research, its untamed potential has also been called into question – including earning a passing grade on top law school exams.
After the Walmart memo came to light this week, a spokeswoman noted that the company was still assessing how best to utilize the prodigious tech.
‘Most new technologies present new benefits as well as new risks,’ she said.
‘It’s not uncommon for us to assess these new technologies and provide our associates with usage guidelines.’
Among the new rules to stop Walmart employees from misusing the technology includes avoiding inputting ‘any sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information’.
Staff should also steer clear of including ‘business process, policy, or strategy’ in their AI requests, alongside personal information about customers or clients.
‘Putting Walmart information into these tools risks exposure of the company’s information, may breach confidentiality, and may significantly impact our rights in any code, product, information, or content,’ the memo added.
‘Every associate is responsible for the appropriate use and protection of Walmart data.’
Walmart has become the latest firm to warn its workers over ChatGPT’s potential risks. Pictured: CEO Doug McMillon
Microsoft announced a ‘multi-year, multi-billion-dollar investment’ in ChatGPT, while it joined a growing number of industry titans to caution staff about the tech. Pictured: CEO Satya Nadella
Amazon has also warned employees about the risks of using the AI system, while also introducing it into its operations such as selling ChatGPT-written novels. Pictured: Amazon CEO Andy Jassy
Walmart’s leery usage of ChatGPT comes after several other industry leaders advised staff to be careful with the system, even while introducing it to the workforce.
Last month, Amazon issued a stark warning to its staff about the dangers the tech.
The self-learning tech reportedly rocked the company after it successfully answered complex interview questions for a software coding position at the firm.
And after the data set successfully mimicked internal Amazon data, one of the firm’s lawyers cautioned employees not to share any internal codes or confidential information with the software.
‘This is important because your inputs may be used as training data for a further iteration of ChatGPT, and we wouldn’t want its output to include or resemble our confidential information (and I’ve already seen instances where its output closely matches existing material),’ the lawyer added, according to Insider.
The company’s online bookstore also stole headlines this month after it began selling hundreds of books written by ChatGPT, leading to fears among authors that their craft will be turned into a commodity.
Despite recently announcing a new ‘multi-year, multi-billion-dollar investment’ into ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI, Microsoft also warned employees to be careful.
The firm told staff that they were allowed to use the AI system at work, so long as they don’t offer up ‘sensitive data’.
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