Preparing for AI unpredictability


AI is everywhere. Any newsletter you read, or webinar and conference you attend is touching on AI right now and the importance to your firm growth. Insightful Accountant is hopping on the bandwagon during our upcoming “Future Forward September 2023” seminar.

If you haven’t already read our miniseries on lessons in AI, you can check it out HERE. But amidst all the hype, it’s important to also recognize the questions and reservations.

For one, ChatGPT is an open AI system. What does that mean? It means essentially that the system gets better at returning responses the more data is fed to it. The more we teach AI, the more improvement we see in clarity, accuracy, and human realism in the responses.

This makes AI different from tools like Google because it is designed to respond in a human-like manner, as if you were having a conversation. For example, if it returns a response you don’t love you can tell it to “make it shorter,” “make it less formal,” “write it using a tone of…,” etc. A trick Google does not have up its sleeve. This is great in a lot of ways and also raises concerns.

This understandably raises some issues for accountants. We’re taught to keep all information, especially client information under lock and key, so what are the security risks of putting information into systems like ChatGPT? The risks are similar to anything else you put out onto the internet.

Making it critical that any firm has protocols in place to protect sensitive information from making its way into a ChatGPT chatbot. Few practices (and few software companies for that matter) are developing safety protocols to protect information.

Practice leaders need to be looking at the ways in which their firms intended to use ChatGPT and AI powered software tools. They no doubt carry a huge benefit in the way of efficiency opportunities, but due diligence should be done to understand the protection of information.

We are looking at a new wave of technology and it is challenging at this juncture to know how it will truly impact firms. The unpredictability of use is both exciting and concerning from the perspectives of efficiency and compliance.

At a minimum, firms need to look at setting protocols centered around;

  1. How ChatGPT should be used and when, for what projects?
  2. What type of information is allowed to be entered into the system and what is not
  3. How to prevent accidental or non-compliant entering of client sensitive information
  4. What the protocols should be if there is a breach

Only time will tell what our tech driven future looks like but since sticking our heads in the sand won’t work, firms will need to start looking at how to safely utilize the tools available to them.

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