AT&T partnered with Microsoft and OpenAI to develop Ask AT&T, a ChatGPT-like tool that will contribute to coding software. The tool is meant to help AT&T’s own employees, including coders and software developers to become more productive in the workplace.
The company is rolling out the Generative AI tool over the next few weeks, AT&T’s chief data officer, Andy Markus said in a blog post, adding that its employees “can be part of the first generation of true corporate users of this new capability.” It continued, “We think this technology will make them more effective, more efficient, and more creative at their jobs.”
The company says Ask AT&T will help transfer old programs to the cloud, effectively modernizing them and allowing developers to “focus on solving new and more complex challenges and business needs,” an AT&T spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo.
Ask AT&T is safe and secure, Markus claimed in the blog post, saying the tool was tested for the possibility of leaked data but reported that the tests allegedly proved the company doesn’t have to worry about the AI tool leaking information to the public domain. Although Ask AT&T was created to streamline employees’ everyday tasks, Markus said “AT&T users are responsible for checking that the results are accurate and appropriate.”
The AT&T spokesperson said they ensured the tool wouldn’t upload information, including questions and responses entered into Ask AT&T, to the public version of ChatGPT, making it more secure. “This is why we instruct employees not to use the public version of chatGPT for work-related matters,” the spokesperson said, adding the risks associated are that “any queries or data entered there can potentially be shared back with other non-AT&T users.”
AT&T’s AI addition comes after Microsoft pledged to release its ChatGPT software to large companies as a starting point to create their own ChatGPT-like bots, CNBC reported in February. Markus called generative AI a “transformational technology,” comparing it to the impact PCs and the internet had on businesses decades ago.
But Markus seems to be alone in his cavalier attitude about artificial intelligence’s forward mobility in the workplace as other companies have directed their employees not to interact with AI while they work on their version of an AI tool.
As recently as last week, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Inc., advised Google employees against interacting with AI chatbots, including the company’s own Bard, citing fears of data leaks, per Reuters. Apple also expressed similar concerns about ChatGPT and warned its employees to avoid the chatbot while it develops its own software, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Yet, despite the concerns other companies have expressed, Markus says AT&T is embracing AI and the possibilities it holds. “We’re so convinced of what this new generation of AI can do that we’re taking a step that few companies have so far,” he said in the company’s blog post. He added, “We are profoundly optimistic about the present and future of AI. … We expect it to help businesses serve their customers better, enable new products and services that weren’t previously possible, and make our employees more effective and innovative.”