Although artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been used for years to create algorithms, identify patterns and automate processes, certain AI-powered tools are newer and still evolving. One such tool is generative AI. Along with other AI tools, generative AI is gaining use in the workplace in ways unthinkable for many business leaders.

Generative AI is “a type of artificial intelligence technology that describes machine learning systems capable of generating text, image, code or other types of content, often in response to a prompt entered by a user,” Dishank Rustogi, M.B.A., B.E., senior manager of cybersecurity engineering at BDO Canada, explained in the International Foundation webcast “Generative AI and Security Implications.” Generative AI is considered a type of limited memory AI interface, a category that includes tools like ChatGPT and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.

Three Takeaways for Employers

As employers begin to use AI tools in the workplace, they’ll need to identify how these tools impact their organizations, beginning by assessing their use of AI, the unique security concerns they may face and the risks associated with their business environment. For a smooth transition to using generative AI, employers can create a communication plan, focusing on transparency with their employees.

Using Generative AI in the Workplace

Understanding the possibilities associated with generative AI can be challenging for business leaders. Deloitte’s Generative AI and the future of work report explains that “the examples of Generative AI use cases by industry are boundless and illustrate the breadth of work that can be augmented using Generative AI.”

Some of the uses of generative AI in the workplace are:

  • Creating new content using various media types
  • Increasing productivity by automating repetitive tasks
  • Enhancing creativity by generating new ideas for writing, marketing or product design purposes
  • Tailoring suggestions or recommendations for a more personalized experience for customers
  • Assisting with cybersecurity simulations that help test and improve network defenses.

Regarding the use of generative AI in HR and benefits administration, an article from HR Daily Advisor suggests that AI can help with open enrollment by streamlining the document review process and leveraging decision support tools available to employees, thereby creating an “increased accuracy with benefit-related transactions.”

Risks and Challenges

Despite the promise that comes with the advantages of using generative AI, there are also risks for employers to manage. Risks explained in the webcast include:

  • Ethical risks such as bias, fairness and transparency concerns
  • Security and privacy risks such as cybersecurity or intellectual property use
  • Behavior-related risks from users such as the disclosure of sensitive information.

Foley & Lardner’s article, Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 401(k) Plan Fiduciary Implications, states that “integrating AI into 401(k) plan management has its challenges.” Generative AI can assist participants with selecting investments, but it creates a potential for poor investment decisions when AI algorithms don’t correctly account for market fluctuations.

Mitigating Risks

In the webcast, Rustogi identified action items for employers to consider when discussing how to mitigate the risks in their specific workplaces. Employer actions include:

  • Establishing usage policies and guidelines for employees
  • Creating a risk assessment and risk mitigation strategy
  • Identifying data governance and security measures
  • Engaging key stakeholders
  • Performing employee training and awareness campaigns.

Generative AI integration in the workplace requires employers to create a multifaceted approach with clear processes and controls in compliance with privacy laws and professional standards.

International Foundation members can access a free recording of the webcast to take a deeper dive into this topic.

Developed by International Foundation Information Center staff. This does not constitute legal advice. Please consult your plan professionals for legal advice.

Anne Newhouse

Information/Research Specialist at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Favorite Foundation Service: The Information Center! Members having the ability to have an information specialist research their topic is a great benefit. Favorite Foundation Moment: Attending the 2013 CEBS conferment ceremony in Boston as an official CEBS graduate. Benefits Related Topics That Interest Her Most: Benefit communication—helping employers understand what employees want and the way they want it communicated to them. Personal Insight: Anne may spend her days in the International Foundation employee benefits library, patiently researching answers to member questions—but after work, she’s ready to move with a bike, hike or walk in the great outdoors.

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