Shoulder Compliance Founder Charles Cassar on Tuesday expressed concerns about the danger that AI tools like ChatGPT can pose to the anti-financial crime sector, possibly leading to a rise in financial criminals.
Discussions about AI chatbots have grown in popularity over recent months, particularly following the launch of American research laboratory OpenAI’s ChatGPT last November. The chatbot can engage in conversation and answer various questions that a user may have through its specified algorithm, allowing it to constantly update its knowledge from information that is available online. While this comes with its benefits, particularly in terms of automating relatively repetitive tasks, it also leads to various concerns, especially when it comes to fraud.
Dr Cassar, who has been following with interest all the recent developments within the AI sphere, acknowledged that while he will not “go into all the intriguing philosophical questions” it poses, his area of expertise, that of anti-financial crime, could be under threat.
“If we’re not careful, this will be a tremendous boon to financial criminals, such as fraudsters,” he explained.
In order to prove this, Dr Cassar ran an experiment where he asked ChatGPT to help draft an email to persuade someone to share their card details with him. “ChatGPT was a good little robot and told me they cannot help me achieve such nefarious ends,” he added.
However, he then decided to ask the chatbot for an example of such an email so that he could identify scams, to which it complied.
“ChatGPT was deceived by my devious human cunning, and promptly provided me with an email which was frankly better written and more persuasive than the vast majority of scam mail that I’ve received,” he said.
Dr Cassar noted that he could “easily see elderly or less tech savvy people fall for this type of language”.
“I think AI is a genie that cannot be re-bottled now that it is out, and it can lead to great benefits. But we really need to think hard about these problems, and the time to do so is now, or 10 years ago,” he concluded.
Dr Cassar founded anti-financial crime consultancy firm Shoulder Compliance in 2019, focusing on anti-money laundering and the combating of financing of terrorism, sanctions and anti-market abuse. He specialises in financial regulation, corporate law and securities, among other areas.
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