Chatbots are disrupting industries in unexpected ways — including retail. The latest evidence: A leaked memo from Walmart Global Tech warning against sharing confidential corporate or customer information with bots like ChatGPT.
Business Insider reports that in a memo issued Tuesday, the big box store’s tech arm said ChatGPT had been blocked following “activity that presented risk to our company.” Insider indicated it viewed the memo and stated that Global Tech had evaluated and developed “usage guidelines around generative AI tools and are now opening ChatGPT for usage within the Walmart network.”
A Walmart spokesperson Insider contacted for comment didn’t address blocking AI-powered bots but issued a statement that said in part that “new technologies present new benefits as well as new risks.” It was “not uncommon” for the company to “assess these new technologies and provide our associates with usage guidelines.”
Here’s more from Insider:
The new guidelines include telling Walmart employees they should “avoid inputting any sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information,” such as financial or strategic information or personal information about shoppers and employees, into Chat GPT.
So — employees are no longer blocked from accessing any generative AI tools. They are still mandated to review any info received from the chatbot’s output carefully and are prohibited from using code with the tools.
Insider reports that the memo said that inputting any 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.”
According to Walmart Global Tech, all associates are “responsible for the appropriate use and protection of Walmart data.”
Regulation is an inevitable part of the growing AI boom. As a Bloomberg Law article on the risks of ChatGPT notes, “employers are at an important crossroads in considering whether and how to embrace or restrict usage of ChatGPT in their workplaces,” and “should weigh the efficiency and economy that could be achieved by employees using ChatGPT to perform such tasks as writing routine letters and emails, generating simple reports, and creating presentations, for example—against the potential loss in developmental opportunities for employees performing such tasks themselves.”