Guidance for Working with Generative AI Tools 

Guidelines for Williams employees on using genAI for operational and administrative tasks. 

Generative AI (genAI) tools, whether as standalone apps or features within other software, have potential to improve various workflows and operations. But as new tools, they require care to ensure that we continue to conduct college business in accordance with relevant ethical and legal standards and responsibilities.  In addition to the advice below, refer to the excellent advice from the Rice Center on genAI in the classroom.  

Protect confidential information

To continue to keep our protected and confidential data safe and secure, follow the Williams Data Classification Policy and Usage Guidelines.  Assume that information shared with a genAI tool is not kept private: proprietary or sensitive information provided to a genAI tool may end up in the hands of unauthorized parties.  Refrain from sharing confidential or protected information, including intellectual property from research, with a genAI tool.

Own what you say

AI-generated content can be inaccurate, misleading, or entirely fabricated (referred to as “hallucinations” by the artificial intelligence community).  Any content that you publish, including AI-generated material, is your responsibility. Read and edit any AI-generated content carefully before you use it. As a matter of transparency, it is best practice to identify your use of AI-generated content in published materials.

Output may contain others’ copyrighted material.  While copyright status of AI-generated content is legally unsettled, US Copyright Office guidance and precedent to date indicate that content produced by genAI is likely uncopyrightable by the prompter in most cases, and should be considered in the public domain.

Continue to be alert for scams

We are likely to see an increase in more authentic-looking scams because genAI tools can be used by malicious actors to create sophisticated phishing emails or “deepfakes” (i.e., video or audio intended to convincingly mimic a person’s voice or physical appearance without their consent) at a far greater scale. Continue to follow security best practices and report suspicious messages to [email protected].

Complete the Software Acquisition Process before purchasing a new tool or subscription

We in OIT are here to help you accomplish your goals while keeping our data safe; don’t hesitate to connect with us, especially when considering procurement of a new tool. We are here to assist you with the college’s required software acquisition process.  

Be aware that many existing tools and platforms are integrating genAI as “new features”. For users, this has implications for being mindful that what may appear as simple search or guide tools in a product may actually be genAI, and all of the above considerations should be applied. 

Connect with OIT with questions

Reach out for assistance in thinking through this if you are unsure about how to engage with genAI tools or other emerging technologies.