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Be aware of the risks of using chatbots like ChatGPT in your work

29 February 2024

More and more people nowadays are using smart AI chatbots like ChatGPT, Google Bard and Bing Copilot. They answer your questions fast, write texts, translate and are there to help if you can’t figure things out yourself. But using such services is not without risk.

Watch out for inaccurate and outdated information

Writing chatbots are machines, so they do not always understand the context of what you enter. They base their output on many different internet sources. The internet is full of information but some of this is outdated, unverified or inaccurate. This leads to errors in the output. This makes it important to always check the accuracy of any information you obtain.  

Think carefully about privacy and data protection

Chatbots collect all the information you enter as a user. The tools are getting smarter all the time because they train themselves from all the new input. As the systems store the data users enter to ‘train’ themselves, the data you enter ends up outside your organisation. What is more, the organisations behind these tools employ people who can view and analyse user input for development purposes. And it cannot be ruled out that the information you as a user have entered will be used at a later moment by the chatbot to generate an answer for another user.

This means that chatbots, because of all the information they store, can lead to problems in terms of privacy and the disclosure of confidential data. So make sure your input does not contain any personal data.

Copyright infringement

There is a risk that the text you ask an AI chatbot to create infringes third-party copyright. The text the AI chatbot generates could be based on existing copyrighted works. If a copyright is infringed, the rights holder can take action.

Reduce risks when using chatbots

Make sure you do not share university information with these services − unless this information is already public − and that your information does not contain personal data. Be aware that the information you obtain is not necessarily correct and up to date. Where possible, use the existing university services for your work.


If you have questions about working safely online, take a look at our tips and tools for working safely.

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