What began as good-natured tech tinkering last week ended down the rabbit hole of AI-powered content and its unsettling implications for compliance. And what a deep hole it is.
First, an introduction. The Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is an AI-powered language model that generates text that sounds like it could have been written by a human. GPT-3 was developed by OpenAI, a company founded and funded, in part, by Elon Musk. GPT-3 is powerful and considered the gold-standard for autoregressive language models.
The process was simple. We found an application that used GPT-3 to write content and entered the following to “train” the AI:
- Topics: How compliance officers can improve FCPA compliance, Internal Investigations
- Keywords: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Bribery, Corruption, Internal Investigation, FCPA Book And Records, Department Of Justice, Enforcement, Code of Conduct, China, India, Training
- Tone: Formal
And voilà. The GPT-3-powered super-blogging compliance wizard started cranking out snippets of around 100 words on the FCPA. From start to finish, the whole process took less than five minutes.
All of the content in the next section was created by GPT-3. We removed a few repetitive sentences but didn’t change anything else.
– – – – – [AI begins] – – – – –
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was passed in 1977. It prohibits U.S. companies and their employees from bribing foreign government officials to gain an unfair advantage in international business.
The FCPA is a U.S. law but it has global implications for many non-U.S. companies, especially those based in China or India who need to stay compliant with local laws and regulations that mirror the FCPA’s requirements.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a United States federal law that prohibits the bribery of foreign officials, and requires any company with securities listed in the United States to maintain a system of internal controls to prevent these practices.
India and China are two countries that have been subject to high-profile investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in recent years due to their lax enforcement of anti-bribery laws.
The first step towards improving FCPA compliance is by taking a close look at the company’s code of conduct, which should be updated with new policies and procedures. Employees should be trained on the new policies and procedures as well as on their responsibilities under them. The second step is by ensuring that there are systems in place to monitor, detect, investigate and remediate any potential FCPA violations.
Compliance officers are responsible for ensuring that their company is compliant with all the laws and regulations.
There are some steps that compliance officers can take to improve their FCPA compliance:
- Create a policy for managing a company’s books and records
- Implement an internal investigation process to investigate any potential breaches in the company’s ethics and compliance program
- Ensure that the company has an adequate system of internal control
- Implement appropriate training programs
Internal investigations are a vital part of an organization’s compliance program. They help companies stay in compliance with the law, avoid costly penalties and maintain a good reputation.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been taking a tough stance on corporate crime and has been enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) more aggressively in recent years. The DOJ is also looking to take action against companies that fail to comply with internal investigative requirements.
– – – – – [AI ends] – – – – –
We were impressed by the lucidity of what GPT-3 produced, so we ran it through our plagiarism checker to ensure the content wasn’t lifted en masse from other sources. It wasn’t.
The FCPAI Blog content isn’t very detailed, nuanced, or authentic sounding. But it’s not appalling either. And it does take an authoritative sounding stance with “[t]he first step towards improving FCPA compliance…”
So what’s the verdict?
AI content might work for generic marketing material about how Widget X can increase your web traffic, but the scary thing is that the above content is about the FCPA, where consequences for mistakes are measured in years in prison and billions of dollars.
For compliance professionals, the most important question is, do you trust the source you are reading? Do you know the writer’s credentials?
Compliance pros should also beware of content without citations or references. GPT-3 didn’t include any sources to support its statements. However, reference features for AI-content are likely in the works.
Readers should also be cautious about content with broad, unspecific, and overly general statements. If it sounds like ten things you’ve previously read blended into one, that’s probably because that’s what it is.
From one human to another: Stay safe out there.