Leaked Walmart memo warns against sharing information with ChatGPT

Chatbots are disrupting industries in unexpected ways — including retail. The latest: A leaked memo from Walmart Global Tech warns against sharing confidential company or customer information with bots like ChatGPT.

Business Insider reports that in a memo issued Tuesday, the big box store’s tech arm said ChatGPT had been blocked after “activity that presented a risk to our company.” Insider reported seeing the memo and said Global Tech had evaluated and developed “usage guidelines around artificial intelligence tools being created and is now opening up ChatGPT for use within the Walmart network.”

A spokesperson Walmart Insider reached for comment did not address blocking AI bots, but issued a statement that said in part that “new technologies present new benefits as well as new risks.” It was not uncommon for the company to “evaluate these new technologies and provide our partners with usage guidelines.”

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The new guidelines include informing Walmart employees that they should “avoid entering any sensitive, confidential or proprietary information,” such as financial or strategic information or personal information about shoppers and employees, into GPT Chat.

So — workers are no longer blocked from accessing any AI creation tools. These is they are still mandated to carefully review any information received from the chatbot’s output and are prohibited from using code with the tools.

Insider reports that the memo said that entering any Walmart information into these tools carries the risk of exposing the company’s information, may violate privacy, and may materially affect our rights to any code, product, information or content.

According to Walmart Global Tech, all partners are “responsible for the appropriate use and protection of Walmart data.”

Regulation is an inevitable part of the growing artificial intelligence boom. As a Bloomberg Law article on the dangers of ChatGPT notes, “Employers are at an important crossroads in considering whether and how to adopt or limit the use of ChatGPT in their workplaces” and “should weigh the efficiency and economy that employees could achieve by using ChatGPT to perform tasks such as writing routine letters and emails, generating simple reports and creating presentations, for example, against the potential loss of development opportunities for employees performing such tasks themselves.”

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