AI & Small Business: How to stay ahead and stay safe

August 15, 2023

Written by Carrie McIlvenna, Deerwood Technologies and EFund Expert Network provider

Artificial intelligence is everywhere in the news today and a primer of what it is and what it does can provide a basis for ensuring that you and your business stay safe online and mitigate risks.

What is AI and how can I use it?

Generative AI is a series of computer algorithms used to generate text, images, graphics, simulations, code, or music that appears to be human-created content. Its machine produced content, designed to learn from training data that includes examples of the output.

In the years since its wide deployment, machine learning has demonstrated impact in many industries, accomplishing things like medical imaging analysis and high-resolution weather forecasts. A 2022 McKinsey survey shows that AI adoption has more than doubled over the past five years, and investment in AI is increasing quickly. Today, generative AI tools have the potential to change how a range of jobs are performed. 

The difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence is that AI is the bigger concept and machine learning is the process of learning from data without being programmed explicitly. AI is getting machines to mimic human intelligence to perform tasks. 

Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa - founded on AI technology and generative AI - have been in place for some time and websites employ virtual assistants and chatbots for customer service and navigation help. Notable generative AI tools include: ChatGPT, DALL-E 2, Google Bard, Midjourney, GitHub Copilot, and xAI.

Common and beneficial uses of generative AI include:

  • Healthcare: Accelerate the discovery of novel drugs, saving time and money.
  • Marketing: Craft personalized campaigns and adapt content to consumers’ preferences.
  • Education: Develop customized learning materials and assessments that cater to students’ individual learning styles.
  • Finance: Examine market patterns and predict stock market trends.
  • Environment: Use models to predict weather patterns and simulate the effects of climate change.

AI dangers, limitations and general use policies

There is significant risk that generative AI results can be incorrect, biased, or manipulated to enable unethical or criminal activity. If you are considering using AI tools for your business, it would be wise to consider adopting an AI policy.  

For example, Canva encourages us to “Be a good human” when using their built in AI products. They’ve integrated their AI Product Terms with their Acceptable Use Policy to ensure their AI tools are being used properly.

Below are some of Canva’s prohibited AI uses, which may be helpful to add to your business’s own AI general use policy.

Do Not:

  • Mislead anyone that the content generated by AI Products is human-generated;
  • Provide medical advice or any content regarding the treatment, prevention, diagnosis, or transmission of diseases;
  • Provide legal or financial advice;
  • Generate contracts or legally binding obligations;
  • Generate political content including for dissemination in electoral campaigns;
  • Generate source code;
  • Generate spam, ransomware, keyloggers, viruses or other software;
  • Generate nudity or shocking content including obscene gestures, bodily fluids, or other profane subjects;
  • Generate or disseminate information to be used for the administration of justice or other legal purposes;
  • Implement fully automated decision making.

In the end, use your own human intelligence

As AI emergence takes on momentum and tools such as ChatGPT and others are widely available, using AI cautiously is prudent.

Consider your goal in utilizing AI?  Is the result clear of legal, moral/ethical issues and free from harm?  Always keep in mind that while you may use AI with good intentions, some actors seek to use AI with bad intent.

For more reliable technology, IT, and cybersecurity related articles, visit

About the Author

Carrie McIlvenna, Cyber/IT Project Manager, Client Success 

Carrie McIlvenna joined Deerwood Technologies in spring of 2021 and brings decades of technical consultant expertise delivering excellence in process design, flexible implementation, and tracking results with collaborative problem-solving. 

Carrie resides in Washington state, and is a graduate of Washington State University with a degree in Communications. She is a night owl by nature, has been lucky in travel experiences and believes organizing is a hobby well worth her free time. 

No items found.