Recently, Samsung reportedly banned the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools after it was discovered that employees had uploaded sensitive code to the platform. Tech major, Apple has restricted the usage of ChatGPT by its employees, and so has JP Morgan Chase. Are employers scared of generative AI? If they are, it is not really surprising because generative AI is all about ‘intelligence’, a terms that is a significant part of its name itself. Imagine when it becomes free for one and all to use, with caution and safety thrown to the winds! This will result in nothing short of a catastrophe, compromising sensitive organisational information and data.
In this era, where generative artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming industries, how can organisations discard their fears regarding misuse of AI and adopt a proactive approach towards genrative AI technology? Well, instead of imposing bans and restrictions, they can focus on spreading more awareness and educating their workforce on effective utilisation of AI. They have to realise that even employees feel that AI is a threat to their livelihoods.
However it is important to keep in mind that the companies have not banned generative AI entirely but rather certain applications such as ChatGPT, which is why it is essential to recognise the broad spectrum of AI technologies and their diverse capabilities. While generative AI has undoubtedly contributed to various advancements and innovations, the decision to ban ChatGPT or similar tools primarily stems from concerns related to information privacy and security. These concerns revolve around the potential misuse or unintended consequences of AI-generated content.
The unrestricted use of generative AI in chat platforms can pose significant risks, such as the generation of misleading or false information, manipulation of public opinion, or the creation of convincing yet entirely fabricated content. These bans seek to prevent those with malicious intent from exploiting generative AI systems to disseminate misinformation, invade personal privacy, or engage in harmful activities.
That is why, Sumal Abraham Varghese, director and CHRO, Transys Global, rightly believes that it is crucial to raise awareness among employees about the benefits and limitations of generative AI. Organisations can conduct formal training sessions and programmes focused on generative AI to foster understanding and acceptance. Some companies and startups have already taken proactive steps to train their employees in generative AI implementation.
By equipping their workforce with the necessary knowledge and skills, organisations can help their employees overcome this fear and unleash the full potential of generative AI while fostering a culture of innovation.
“While AI has its limitations, such as lacking intuitive decision-making and the ability to influence people emotionally, it is important to recognise that AI is created by humans and should be seen as a complement to human skills.”
Sumal Abraham Varghese, director and CHRO, Transys Global
To empower employees and urge them to embrace generative AI technologies effectively, organisations should focus on educating and training them objectively, suggests Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo.
“Providing access to external resources such as online courses and publications helps employees deepen their understanding of generative AI. Making generative AI toolkits and libraries available allows them to experiment and develop generative AI applications. Ensuring access to clean datasets and offering tools for data preparation enhances their ability to work with generative AI,” enunciates Sharma.
Ethics and responsibility: Sharma emphasises that educating employees about ethical considerations and responsible generative AI practices is crucial. Organisations should also consider unique generative AI tools and resources based on their specific needs and goals. By implementing these strategies and providing relevant resources, organisations empower employees to leverage generative AI effectively, contributing to organisational success and innovation in the digital era.
AI literacy: To effectively utilise generative AI, organisations need to establish a foundation of generative AI literacy amongst the employees. This involves providing introductory training programmes that cover fundamental concepts, terminology and potential applications of generative AI. By ensuring that employees understand the basics, organisations can create a common language around AI and foster a collaborative environment for innovation.
“Providing access to external resources such as online courses and publications helps employees deepen their understanding of AI. Making AI toolkits and libraries available allows them to experiment and develop AI applications.”
Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo
Tailored training programmes: Every employee’s journey with generative AI will be unique, depending on their specific roles and responsibilities. Organisations should design training programmes that are tailored to address the diverse needs of different departments and job functions.
Hands-on learning and experimentation: Theoretical knowledge alone is insufficient for effective generative AI utilisation. Organisations should emphasise hands-on learning and experimentation by providing access to generative AI tools, platforms and sandbox environments. Hackathons, innovation challenges and cross-functional projects can further promote collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees.
Foundational understanding: Ravi Mishra, SVP-HR, advanced materials business, Aditya Birla Group, says that awareness and training programmes play a crucial role in introducing employees to the concepts and applications of AI. Workshops, seminars and training sessions can be conducted to provide a foundational understanding of generative AI, its benefits, and potential use cases in the workplace.
Internal AI champions: According to Mishra, “To facilitate the adoption of generative AI, organisations should encourage the emergence of internal generative AI champions. These individuals can be identified from amongst the employees who have a keen interest in generative AI and possess relevant expertise. They can serve as advocates, leading initiatives, sharing their knowledge with colleagues and providing guidance on generative AI adoption and implementation. Internal generative AI champions can also collaborate with teams and individuals to identify potential generative AI use cases and develop strategies for their successful implementation.”
Continuous learning and upskilling: The field of generative AI is dynamic and constantly evolving. Therefore, organisations should foster a culture of continuous learning and upskilling to keep pace with advancements. Establishing internal communities of practice, organising knowledge-sharing sessions, and encouraging employees to pursue certifications or advanced courses can ensure that their generative AI skills stay relevant and up-to-date.
Benefits to the organisation
Mishra points out, “Automation of repetitive tasks through generative AI technologies can free up employees’ time and energy, allowing them to focus on more complex and creative work. generative AI-powered data analysis enables organisations to extract valuable insights from vast amounts of data, leading to informed decision-making. Customer service can be improved with the assistance of generative AI chatbots and virtual assistants that can handle inquiries and support, providing quick and efficient responses to customers.”
That is not all. Mishra goes on to add, “Algorithms created by generative AI can also deliver personalised experiences to customers by analysing their preferences and behaviour. Additionally, predictive maintenance powered by generative AI can help organisations detect and address potential equipment failures, minimising downtime and optimising resource allocation”. He appreciates how “Generative AI algorithms can assist in fraud detection by identifying patterns and anomalies in large datasets, helping organisations mitigate risks.”
As organisations navigate this digital era, it is crucial for them to move beyond mere restrictions and prohibitions on generative AI usage. Instead, they should focus on equipping their workforce with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively harness and embrace generative AI technology.
“Automation of repetitive tasks through AI technologies can free up employees’ time and energy, allowing them to focus on more complex and creative work. AI-powered data analysis enables organisations to extract valuable insights from vast amounts of data, leading to informed decision-making”
Ravi Mishra, SVP-HR, advanced materials business, Aditya Birla Group
An area of interest for Varghese is the integration of generative AI into learning management systems or LMS. He points out that “some people are hesitant about generative AI due to the perceived gap between human intelligence and artificial intelligence”. He explains, “While generative AI has its limitations, such as lacking intuitive decision-making and the ability to influence people emotionally, it is important to recognise that generative AI is created by humans and should be seen as a complement to human skills.”
According to Varghese, in the context of LMS, organisations can emphasise that generative AI-enabled platforms, such as the learning experience platform or LEP, enhance existing LMS capabilities. These platforms can help learners select suitable courses, provide coding assistance, explain the practical applications of learned concepts and assess their progress. The key message for organisations is to train and educate employees on how to effectively use generative AI to complement their skills and work.
How some organisations have embraced AI to their advantage
The examples set by industry leaders such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon and Accenture highlight the significance of investing in comprehensive generative AI training programmes.
Google: Renowned technology giant, Google is widely recognised for its comprehensive generative AI training initiatives. The company established the Google generative AI Residency programme, offering intensive training and mentorship to exceptional graduates in the field of generative AI research. By providing hands-on experience and exposure to cutting-edge generative AI projects, Google fosters a culture of innovation and continuous learning among its employees.
Microsoft: Microsoft has demonstrated a commitment to generative AI education and training through its generative AI Business School. This initiative offers online courses, workshops, and resources to empower employees, customers, and partners with generative AI knowledge. The generative AI Business School provides insights into AI strategy, ethics, and implementation, helping participants understand the potential impact and benefits of generative AI adoption.
IBM: IBM has prioritised employee education in AI through its IBM SkillsBuild platform. This comprehensive learning platform offers AI-focused courses and certifications, allowing employees to upskill and re-skill in AI-related domains. IBM’s approach emphasises hands-on learning, ensuring practical application and real-world relevance of generative AI knowledge.
Amazon: Amazon has made significant investments in generative AI education and training through its Amazon Machine Learning University (MLU). This internal initiative provides employees with a diverse range of generative AI learning resources, including online courses, tutorials and workshops. By empowering employees to acquire generative AI expertise, Amazon promotes a culture of innovation and helps drive generative AI adoption across various business functions.
Accenture: Consulting firm, Accenture has embraced generative AI education and training through its Applied Intelligence Academy. This academy delivers generative AI-focused training programmes and workshops, catering to employees at all skill levels. Additionally, Accenture has integrated genrative artificial intelligence (AI) throughout its service-delivery approach, resulting in enhanced efficiency, valuable insights and accelerated value for numerous clients. This has been achieved through the utilisation of cutting-edge platforms such as myWizard, SynOps and MyNav, which have established Accenture as a leader in the market.
These companies and many others like them have shown their commitment to employee education. In doing so they have managed to foster a culture of innovation, drive business growth and stay ahead in the generative AI-driven digital landscape.