Are AI tools dangerous?
Many freelance writers are using chatbots like ChatGPT, but they’re uncertain about the process. Are artificial intelligence apps “safe”?
I’ve had many questions about using tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and others in a writing business.
Let’s look at common dangers, and how to avoid them.
Common artificial intelligence dangers to avoid if you’re a freelance writer
The most common dangers to be aware of, and to avoid, are:
- Indemnity clauses in contracts.
- Plagiarism: who owns the copyright of generated content?
- Privacy: your own, and your clients’.
- A lack of transparency.
Let’s look at them in a little more detail.
1. The big danger: indemnity clauses in freelance writing contracts
Important: I am not a legal professional. If you’re concerned about anything in a contract, contact someone who is a professional for advice before you sign.
Firstly, be aware of the dangers of indemnity clauses:
If you are working under an indemnification provision, you could be held financially responsible for any lawsuits brought due to your article’s content.
Indemnity clauses can be a real biggie, because so much is uncertain about AI, and things like plagiarism.
2. The hazards of plagiarism: who owns AI-generated content?
Copyright law is based around a general principle that only content created by human beings can be protected.
In my understanding (again, not a lawyer), copyright can be claimed if there is:
- A creator.
- A fixed form of a creation.
That said, anyone can sue anyone for anything at any time. Please be aware of this. I wouldn’t use any AI-generated content as-is. This isn’t a hardship—use ChatGPT etc as a tool, like Google search, in your writing business, and be aware of privacy concerns.
3. Privacy and AI: keep client (and your own) info safe
Please don’t include any of your personal data when using AI, or a client’s personal data. Don’t include anything which you wouldn’t include on your website, or in your social media profiles.
Be especially wary with any client material, because much will be proprietary. Never dump a client document into an app, because you have no idea where the material will end up, or who has access to it.
Sadly even lawyers are misusing AI by dumping client information into a chatbot, according to Forbes.
Big tip: you’re ultimately responsible for your own actions. So, if a client asks you to do something and you’re concerned, tell the client about your concerns.
Essential: be transparent in your use of artificial intelligence.
4. Be transparent: cite AI as needed
I suggest that you’re always up-front when you use an AI tool, either in your published materials, in client work, or even in proposals.
In my own writing and marketing, when I research something using artificial intelligence, I always cite the research as “ChatGPT” or “Bard”, or whatever, with the date. This is for my own peace of mind.
It’s advisable to mark the materials, so you know, even months and years later, what you created using AI, and what’s your own words.
When I include my own words amongst research materials in apps like Obsidian and Logseq for example, I always mark my own content with “me” or even my full name and copyright info, so that I know which thoughts and words are mine.
Recently a friend said he’d been called out for using AI in some material he’d sent his client. He was adamant he hadn’t used an AI app—and that’s the problem with current AI-detectors: false positives.
Cite your use of AI clearly, so that you’re transparent, and can respond to any comments with confidence. Here’s a good source on citing AI tools using APA and other styles.
Use artificial intelligence tools with confidence
Once you’re aware of the problems, please put safeguards in place, so that you can use AI tools with confidence.
And as always: have fun. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.