The Applications and Risks of Artificial Intelligence for Businesses

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic lately. Businesses and contractors have taken advantage of this burgeoning technology to do everything from drafting emails to making marketing content, and they potentially have saved time and money by outsourcing this work to a computer. However, there are several factors to consider before turning over your marketing emails or advertisements to an AI program to avoid making costly mistakes or even being liable for intellectual property infringement.

Background

AI is software that relies on a machine’s intelligence instead of human intelligence. AI is based on algorithms that can pick up on patterns and learn how to make predictions or recommendations by collecting and processing information from internet resources. Google, Netflix, Apple, and many other major companies have used AI to assist with everything from optimizing search engines to recommending movies and even allowing you to unlock your iPhone by scanning your face.

AI has many applications for businesses in a variety of areas. AI can filter spam from email inboxes, allow customers to search for products and services more efficiently, and personalize product recommendations for customers. AI also can be used to detect and prevent fraud in online transactions. On the marketing side, business owners have used AI to curate their social media presence and personalize their social media and news feeds. AI also can optimize the targeting of advertisements to customers. The possibilities of using AI as a tool while running a business are almost endless.

Applications of AI

As alluded to above, there are plenty of benefits to using AI in the business context. AI can be used to prepare templates for emails and press releases. AI can also automate processes that might otherwise take a lot of time, like sending out email blasts and guiding consumers through customer support.

AI also could help business owners save on costs by using AI chatbots on a company’s website. For example, a business selling wood flooring materials might consider utilizing a chatbot to answer customers’ questions. A chatbot can be used to interact with customers, answering generic questions without employing a cadre of customer service experts. The beauty of these systems is that they can learn from their interactions with customers and tailor their responses as they get more queries, saving the business owner valuable time and money.

Similarly, AI also can be used in the shipping and retail aspects of businesses. AI can be used to automate and streamline the shipping and fulfillment processes, making it faster and more cost-effective to prepare and ship orders all over the country and even all over the world.

It is crucial to review any content created by, or created using the assistance of, AI companies. While businesses can benefit from the time savings of using AI to draft things like emails and press releases, those who oversee this content creation should make sure to spell-check and fact-check these documents to ensure there aren’t mistakes or misstatements that could subject the company to liability and that any images used have been vetted for possible copyright or trademark infringement concerns.

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Risks

Using AI can pose significant risks to companies and business owners that don’t exercise proper caution. One considerable downside to relying on AI in creating business or marketing materials is the possibility of trademark or copyright infringement. AI learns by reviewing (and often copying) information it comes across. As a result, AI software often reviews copyrighted works and images or logos protected by trademark law. Without proper precautions, AI-generated images or text in advertisements or on websites could subject a business to copyright or trademark infringement claims. An example would be a company asking AI to create an image of a house with siding in the color the business offers. The AI
might scan the internet and produce an image that incorporates or is based heavily on an image owned by another company or individual. If the company uses this image, it could be sued for copyright infringement by the owner of the image, despite the company not intending to violate copyright or trademark laws.

AI is software that relies on a machine’s intelligence instead of human intelligence. AI is based on algorithms that can pick up on patterns and learn how to make predictions or recommendations by collecting and processing information from internet resources. Google, Netflix, Apple, and many other major companies have used AI to assist with everything from optimizing search engines to recommending movies and even allowing you to unlock your iPhone by scanning your face.

Using AI in this way can have serious legal ramifications if the proper precautions are not taken. Another downside of AI is an inability to read humans in the way other humans can. While AI is useful in that it can be used for chatbots, which saves time and money for companies, AI often is unable to pick up on the nuances of human emotions. As a result, its responses to inquiries on a website might seem cold or even flat-out unkind. This can be off-putting for some customers, who prefer interacting with a human customer service representative. AI’s limited capability to pick up on nuances in human interactions is something to keep in mind when considering using AI for customer-facing functions.

Final Thoughts

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Finally, it is crucial to review any content created by, or created using the assistance of, AI companies. While businesses can benefit from the time savings of using AI to draft things like emails and press releases, those who oversee this content creation should make sure to spell-check and fact-check these documents to ensure there aren’t mistakes or misstatements that could subject the company to liability and that any images used have been vetted for possible copyright or trademark infringement concerns. AI provides business owners, contractors, and companies with opportunities to save money and time and innovate various processes in ways they have been unable to do before. However, it is essential to exercise caution and consider the risks. Business owners also may consider asking their legal counsel about disclaimers or taking similar steps to address the risks. Companies always should consider and weigh the pros and cons of using AI and ask their compliance and legal teams in the face of uncertainty.

Corrine Conway is an intellectual property associate with Barnes & Thornburg, where she
advocates for and helps protect clients’ assets. Well-versed in legal research and trademark and copyright matters, Conway can assess and deliberate on a wide array of IP issues facing clients in the ever-expanding intellectual property realm. She can be reached at corrine.conway@btlaw.com.

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