14 May 2024

Not-for-profits given the lowdown on how to use AI safely

| Jacqueline Lyons
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Outgoing Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon, with OPC managing director Brett Norton, discussed HAC’s work at OPC’s latest quarterly seminar for NFPs. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Cyber security is becoming as crucial as anything else when it comes to running a business these days, making the work of Canberra-managed service provider OPC increasingly important.

OPC has been providing sophisticated end-to-end IT solutions, creative web services and custom cloud solutions for nearly four decades and hosts quarterly luncheons dubbed ‘Clients of the Round Table’ to educate not-for-profit clients on tech solutions for their business.

The topic for the most recent OPC quarterly NFP roundtable event was the importance of using AI solutions within their business.

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OPC chief executive officer Clinton Henderson says that while the addition of AI to any business is beneficial, there are some risks involved.

“With all AI platforms there are risks involved when it comes to data leakage and it’s so important to prevent this from happening rather than dealing with the consequences later on,” he says.

“We had Paul from the IT company Crayon come and explain to our NFP clients a bit about the benefits of using their software Microsoft Copilot but also what to look out for before implementing it into their systems.”

seven business people standing in a row

OPC runs quarterly seminars to educate NFPs on technology and to enable them to network with their peers in the industry. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Clinton says, now more than ever, it’s extremely important to make sure that all AI technology is being used safely.

“If you don’t ensure that all your data is secured with passwords and identification processes, AI does have the capabilities of accessing all of the data you put in and that’s where things can get really problematic,” Clinton says.

“For example, if you upload an employee’s contract using an AI program and don’t take the necessary precautions when it comes to protection, things like their salary could potentially be leaked through the system. Preventing situations like that is where our services come in.

“At the end of the day, we’re here to help make sure the policies around the use of AI are enforced and that organisations are making sure that the governance is managed to the highest standard.”

Clinton says the benefits of using AI are increasing, with Copilot helping businesses with everything from getting the most out of meeting minutes to creating PowerPoint presentations.

The session also included a presentation by outgoing Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon, who discussed the work they do.

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“We aim to bring the community sector together and help out organisations as much as we can when it comes to funding and support,” Peter says.

“When it comes to the projects we want to take part in we take notice of the organisations that are actively looking at the root causes behind issues and attacking them head on rather than fixing a problem later on.

“We believe it’s better to have the ambulance at the top of the cliff rather than the bottom.”

Peter says the work they do is becoming more and more important every day as the cost of living pressures increase.

“The demand for street pantries has gone up between 60 and 80 percent over the past 18 months across the Canberra region, even having a job just doesn’t seem to be enough for the cost of living pressures and that’s where our work helping out NFPs is really important,” Peter says.

For more information about OPC and their IT support services visit OPC.


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The answer for how to use AI safely is pretty much don’t use it. And I say pretty much don’t use it because, past a certain point, which arrives rather quickly, AI is anti-human.

If it can do a job that no human should be doing – such as cleaning up bomb sites or whatever – then AI has its place. But beyond that, there’s no job too good for any human to have to do, and so it’ll be good for a human to be doing it.

To this, AI proponents talk a lot about its effects on efficiency and customer service, but nobody is able to explain why those measures are more important than humanity and the limits to efficiency and customer service that entails.

Better to be on humanity’s side, and put up with its limitations, than to shoot for the stars like lunatics, and lose all respect for humanity in the process.

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