ai-acceptable-use-policyIn the 1950’s a film was released called “The Human Duplicators” and it told the story of an alien coming to earth to replace humans with AI.  The big twist at the end was realizing that the “alien” life form was actually AI sent by beings from another planet who want to harvest earth’s resources.  When this alien first arrives, he says to the earth scientist who is in the early stages of creating AI something about being here to help because humans are fooling with technology they’re not ready to handle.

As the movie progresses, the irony becomes clear: humans didn’t know how to handle AI, so extraterrestrials easily take over.

We’re not faced with aliens trying to exploit us (yet), but there is an interesting prophetic message in that movie: integrating technology before you’re ready could spell disaster.  How prepared is your organization to handle the benefits and challenges of AI?  Are you ready for the dangers as well as the convenience of using AI?

That’s where an AI Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) comes into play. Policies are essential for maintaining security and compliance and clarifying accountability within your organization.  When it comes to AI, having a policy is the pathway to success.

Why use AI Acceptable Use Policy?

An AI Acceptable Use Policy clarifies the rules of the game for employees.  It creates the framework that guides employees regarding how to use AI technologies safely and effectively. This is crucial because, while AI can significantly enhance productivity, it also poses unique challenges and risks. It is entirely possible that AI might suggest actions or generate outputs that lead to negative consequences.  For example, an AI tool like Copilot suggests a block of code that, unknown to the employee, contains security vulnerabilities. If this code is used in a live environment, it could potentially expose the organization to cyber threats or data breaches.

AI programming serves AI, not necessarily your company.  So, it’s important that employees are aware that the responsibility does not lie with the AI when things go wrong.  The responsibility always rests with the employee who acted on the information.

An effective AI AUP ensures that employees understand their responsibility to vet and validate AI-generated content before use, reinforcing that the final decision and its ramifications rest on their shoulders.

Key Elements of an AI Acceptable Use Policy

  • Clearly defining what AI tools can be used for and under what circumstances.
  • Outlining that employees are responsible for the final decisions made based on AI recommendations and must exercise due diligence and critical thinking.
  • Detailing the security protocols that must be followed when using AI tools, including data handling and compliance with existing cybersecurity frameworks.
  • Ensuring that the use of AI adheres to ethical standards and respects privacy rights.
  • Establishing how AI use will be monitored and what actions will be taken in the event of policy violations.
  • Importance of Dialogue and Assessment

The introduction of an AI AUP should be a wake-up call for ongoing dialogue about AI integration within your organization. If your IT team hasn’t started discussions about AI governance and security, it’s a critical gap that needs immediate attention. Are you confident that your current team has the expertise to handle these emerging technologies responsibly?

Simple Steps To Implement A Workable AI Policy

  • STEP 1: Develop the policy in collaboration with IT, legal, and compliance teams to ensure all aspects of AI use are covered.
  • STEP 2: Clearly communicate the policy to all employees to ensure understanding and compliance.
  • STEP 3: Provide training sessions to help employees understand the importance of the policy and how to apply it in their daily work.
  • STEP 4: Establish a feedback loop to continually improve the policy based on real-world experiences and challenges.

Is Your Team Ready?

Having a robust AI Acceptable Use Policy is vital. This policy not only protects your organization but also ensures that innovations are implemented wisely and ethically.

But here’s the question: How much work is it to create a policy?

It’s easier than you think.  Reach out for an AI readiness assessment today and ensure that your team is as forward-thinking as the technologies you aim to adopt.

Now is the time to act. Don’t wait for a breach, a compliance failure or an extraterrestrial invasion to realize the gaps in your AI governance.