Samsung Issues Ban On Artificial Intelligence Use After Sensitive Data Leak

Samsung has issued a ban on so-called ‘generative artificial intelligence’ after discovering the services were being misused by company employees. Use of these tools, including the immensely popular ChatGPT, has been restricted by the South Korean technology giant amid concerns about sensitive data being leaked on such platforms. 

According to Bloomberg, the crackdown was promoted by an accidental leak of internal information by an engineer who uploaded it to ChatGPT last month. Though the severity and information of the leak remain unclear, Samsung’s decision to ban the use of generative AI tools raises awareness of the current wider concerns over the safety and privacy of these artificial intelligence tools. 

Samsung’s Data Leak And The Ban

After an accidental leak of sensitive internal source code by a Samsung engineer who uploaded the information to ChatGPT last month, Samsung Electronics has decided that a ban on generative AI is the only way for the company to stay protected and secure moving forward. 

The ban on generative AI tools was issued by a company memo last week amid Samsung’s worries that data shared on AI chatbots may get stored on servers owned by rival companies operating the service – such as Microsoft, Google and OpenAI – with no easy way to access and delete it.

Samsung also reportedly fears that the sensitive data shared with the likes of ChatGPT could end up being shared with other users as well. 

The company worries that data shared with generative AI tools such as ChatGPT could be kept, leaked and shared as these tools save users’ chat history and use the conversations to train its models further. While the platform does allow users to disable this setting manually, it is unclear if this option retroactively applies to older chats.

Concerns Over The Saftey And Privacy Of AI Tools

In a Samsung company-wide survey that was conducted last month, 65% of respondents stated they did have concerns over the security risks that come with using generative AI services – a poignant demonstration of the growing worries about artificial intelligence capabilities.

Concerns over the safety and privacy of AI tools are increasingly widespread. Earlier this year, CNN reported that US investment bank JPMorgan also restricted the use of ChatGPT amongst its staff followed by Business Insider announcing that Amazon had also issued a warning to employees not to upload confidential information to ChatGPT. 

Not only has ChatGPT been banned in specific companies, but some governments have taken things one step further and issued a complete ban on its use within its borders. Countries that have banned the AI tool include Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, and Italy. 

Samsung’s ban on generative AI comes in light of Dr Geoffrey Hinton’s resignation from Google. The ‘godfather of AI’ has left the company and subsequently issued warnings over the growing dangers of the field and regrets regarding the part he played in developing the artificial intelligence sector.  

Dr Hinton admitted he found AI chatbots “quite scary”. “Right now they’re not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be”

“given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about that”, he stated.  

Dr Hinton’s worries have come after wider concerns in the field displayed in an open letter signed in March by other figureheads in the sector such as Steve Wozniak, Tristan Harris and Elon Musk campaigning for AI developments to be paused until sufficient safety measures have been put in place. 

Indeed, with all the global concerns surrounding generative AI, it is clear that Samsung’s ban on ChatGPT is by no means unfounded. 

How Will Samsung Move Forward With Generative AI?

It is becoming an essential objective for companies around the world to work out how exactly generative AI capabilities can fit into their business in a safe and beneficial way. This task is becoming a race against the clock as these AI tools are becoming increasingly popular, accessible, and, more worryingly, intellectually developed. 

Generative AI tools are becoming steadily more developed and intelligent as the days go on. Whilst this means these services could be used to help businesses in new and exciting ways, it also means they could pose more of a threat to companies if sufficient rules are not put in place to regulate them. 

For example, software developers at Goldman Sachs have been using generative AI to help generate code and management. Consultancy firm Bain & Company also announced earlier this year that it is integrating OpenAI’s generative tools into its management systems.

But how will Samsung go forward with its use of generative AI in light of recent restrictions?

CNBC reports that the technology giant is still looking for ways in which generative AI can be used safely to enhance employee productivity and efficiency despite the recent ban. 

So, only time will tell in revealing how Samsung will move forward with its plans on how to use generative AI and its treatment of tools such as ChatGPT in a world becoming increasingly shaped and moulded by the developments of the artificial intelligence sector.