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Glaring inconsistencies in Government use of artificial intelligence & Chat GPT – Cannon

15th May 2023 - Ciaran Cannon TD

There are glaring inconsistencies in the different approaches by Government departments to using artificial intelligence (AI), Fine Gael TD Ciaran Cannon has said.

Deputy Cannon asked all Government departments about their use of AI and ChatGPT and from the responses received, he said it is clear that there is no consistency from different departments.

Both the Transport and Agriculture departments confirmed their use of Chat GPT to Deputy Cannon.

“From the answers I’ve received from all government departments, it’s apparent that there’s a complete inconsistency in regulating and monitoring the use of ChatGPT,” Deputy Cannon said.

“Some departments have already banned the use of the platform, some haven’t. Some are awaiting advice from the National Cyber Security Centre and others have already used ChatGPT on a trial basis without any solid expert guidance being in place. In light of this, and what we’ve seen happening with one national newspaper over the weekend, I’m calling for a complete ban on the use of Chat GPT across all government departments as and from today, until such time as the NCSC has had time to assess all of the implications of using the platform and has issued the appropriate expert guidance.”

“I asked the parliamentary question because I believe that there may be national security issues arising from the use of ChatGPT, particularly in the inputting of departmental data to produce the desired outputs from the platform.

“Right now we have no idea where that data, some of which could be highly sensitive, is ending up and who exactly has access to it.

“I’m not suggesting for a moment that we need to permanently ban the use of ChatGPT and other AI platforms which may emerge in the coming years, in fact I’ve always been a strong advocate of the use of technology to improve outcomes. I readily acknowledge that in a few years time, AI will form a major part of the technology platform used by all governments, but right now we’re flying blind.

“It’s not safe to have this inconsistency of approach. It’s not fair to our officials to expose them to this technology without having the support of expert guidance. With all of the expertise available to us in Ireland as a global digital hub, there’s every reason why our Government should lead the way in using this technology safely and effectively,” Deputy Cannon said.

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