Did you know it took 16 years for mobile phone users to reach 100 million, 2.5 years for Instagram to get to that number and only 2 months for ChatGPT? That is the pace of change.

The increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to attract attention in the media, highlighting the growing importance of understanding AI and its potential effects on the workplace.

AI mimics human intelligence using computer systems, involving learning, reasoning, and self-correction. AI encompasses subfields like machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. AI has the potential of benefiting society through enhanced efficiency, innovation, and convenience; nevertheless, it also poses potential drawbacks such as privacy concerns, job displacement, and ethical implications.

Currently, there are no regulations in Ireland tailored specifically for governing AI. Instead, the governance of AI falls under existing laws that oversee consumer rights, data protection, and market competition. The AI Advisory Council was established to provide independent expert advice to the Government on AI policy prioritising trust-building, and human-centred AI. It will respond to government requests and develop its own advice on AI issues, offering insights into trends, opportunities, and challenges.

In the absence of legislative guidance, organisations can take proactive steps to navigate this rapidly evolving landscape. Employers should begin to assess any potential risks posed by AI on employees and the organisation, they should consider developing ethical guidelines for the use of AI to ensure fairness and transparency, and train employees on AI systems and data protection policies. Additionally, employers should closely monitor legislative developments including the progress of the EU AI Act. The proposed Act aims to ensure the safety of AI systems in the EU, uphold fundamental rights and EU values, and encourage the creation of a unified market for AI applications.