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Rumors from the Coffee Machine: When Artificial Intelligence Gets Involved

When Artificial Intelligence Becomes a Colleague at the Office

The Introduction of Artificial Intelligence at the Office

What makes a good colleague? This question undoubtedly has multiple answers. Someone trustworthy. Who conscientiously does their job. With a good mood. Accommodating. Tolerant. Inspiring. Funny. Ready to help you out with a Post-it or calmly explain how to print A3 double-sided. To all these possible definitions, another one can be added: when it’s time to migrate to the coffee machine, a good colleague is one who is able to share with you the juicy info that constitutes the vibrant heart of the company’s life.

Artificial Intelligence and Gossip at Work

While artificial intelligences (AI) are gradually becoming part of the office routine, one can legitimately wonder if, beyond their productivity appeal, they too could engage in this form of corporate gossip that, in front of a cup of watery coffee, turns the lives of your colleagues into an epic tale.

The Generative AI Test

I experiment with the free version of a generative AI: « Can you imagine company gossip that would be generated by an AI colleague at the coffee machine, with revealing details about Robert from accounting? » In a fraction of a second (the time of the response), the language model gives me a negative answer, and I realize that the AI is not quite like any other colleague.

Ethical Behavior by AI

But why? « I strive to promote respectful and informative interactions, » the AI informs me. « Generating gossip or false information about individuals goes against this objective. However, I am here to answer all your other questions or to discuss more appropriate topics. » By using these large language models, we are entering a dynamic where a boundary is drawn between what can be said and what is unspeakable, conceivable and inconceivable.

By Lucas Burtin for the newspaper Le Monde


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