Microsoft has reportedly announced a restriction of its own employees' access to OpenAI's ChatGPT software for a short period this week, before explaining to CNBC that it was a mistake.
The tech company has invested billions into the platform, but took precautions this Thursday to curtail the service's use. An internal message originally said that ChatGPT was “banned” along with another third-party external service, design software Canva.
However, this ban was fully reversed shortly afterwards, following the publication of a now-updated CNBC article.
What's the Timeline for All This?
The issue started when Microsoft updated an internal website to say that “a number of AI tools are no longer available for employees to use” due to “security and data concerns.”According to this internal message, this decision was because ChatGPT is still a “third-party external service” and potentially opens up a security concern.
Here's how CNBC explains it:
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“The company initially said it was banning ChatGPT and design software Canva, but later removed a line in the advisory that included those products. After initial publication of this story, Microsoft reinstated access to ChatGPT.”
Microsoft Still Stands Behind ChatGPT
So, after an update from Microsoft's people, the official news is that ChatGPT is not banned at the company. Instead, all employee access was temporarily restricted, and restored shortly afterwards. And according to the spokesperson, the original message itself was a mistake.
“We were testing endpoint control systems for LLMs and inadvertently turned them on for all employees,” a spokesperson told CNBC. “We restored service shortly after we identified our error. As we have said previously, we encourage employees and customers to use services like Bing Chat Enterprise and ChatGPT Enterprise that come with greater levels of privacy and security protections.”
Granted, all this back and forth doesn't exactly look great for Microsoft. But these technical mishaps happen sometimes, and they don't impact any real business decisions — except perhaps a greater investment in reducing human error in cybersecurity in the future.
In the end, Microsoft still supports employee use of the large language model ChatGPT, which it has plenty of funds invested in, and it still stands behind the “built-in safeguards” that the company says keep it safe for enterprise use.
Using ChatGPT at Work
You don't have to work at Microsoft to be confused by workplace messaging about ChatGPT. Can you use it? Should you? Will you fall behind if you don't? It all depends on what your workplace tells you.
Plenty of businesses do ban ChatGPT, and you definitely don't want to violate any direct order — even if 68% of ChatGPT users admit hiding it from their boss. And there is some evidence to suggest using it to create a resume hurts your odds of landing the position.
But if your workplace is ChatGPT-friendly, take a look at these quick how-to guides to bring you up to speed on the AI platform: