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AI: Principles of Well-Being for Policies, a Google Rollback, Level the Business Playing Field



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[Gene Marks, host]

Hey, everybody, it’s Gene Marks and welcome to this week's episode of the Paychex THRIVE podcast Week in Review. Thank you so much for joining. And, by the way, before I get started, if you need any help or advice or tips in running your business, if you'd like to see links to our older episodes, please sign up for our Paychex THRIVE newsletter. Just join us at and you can sign up there.


Now, for those of you that join me on a weekly basis, you know that I take a few headlines from the news that impacts your business and mine, and we talk a little bit about it, okay?


So, the first bit of news that comes is from the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor has followed President Biden's guidelines and has issued principles for developers and employers for worker well-being with artificial intelligence. What does this mean for you and your business?


Well, let me read you from the Department of Labor: “As part of the president's commitment, the AI executive order that directed the Department of Labor to create principles for developers and employers when using AI in the workplace. These principles will create a roadmap for developers and employers on how to harness AI technologies for their businesses, while ensuring that workers benefit from new opportunities created by AI and are protected from some of the potential harms. The principles are intended to be … not intended to be an exhaustive list of things that we should be doing, but a guiding framework for businesses.”


These principles that the administration is now telling businesses to do, we're advising them strongly via executive order, is to have a document really about AI in your business. How are you addressing worker empowerment? How are you ethically developing AI? How are you using AI to enable workers? How are you ensuring transparency in AI use, and there's many others. If you go to, you'll see that it is all laid out there for you as to what the AI principles are for the Department of Labor.


And here's my thoughts are so you know, every company that I talk to, big and small, are either doing or they're considering doing their own AI. you know, you sort of rules for their companies. Having your own AI ethics, as it is, because I can really be used in a lot of different ways and sometimes not so great.


You need to create an AI policy for your business this year. We all do because our employees are using it and they may not be using it in the right way or ethically. It might get us into trouble, not just with our customers and community, but also with the government now.


I would follow the president's AI principles that they've laid out in the Department of Labor and I would also maybe use AI like ChatGPT or Google Gemini to help create an AI policy that incorporates these principles and other things that we should be taking into consideration when using AI in our business.


Artificial intelligence can be a great thing for our companies, but it also comes with great risks, and most of my clients are putting something down in writing – policies – to protect themselves and their employees against those potential risks.


The second news that comes out this week also has to do with AI, and it relates to Google. This report comes from The New York Times, but trust me when I tell you it's all over the place. Google is officially rolling back some of its AI search features after a bunch of flubs and flaws. Before, when Google made this announcement a couple weeks ago with their developer conference, you could go and do searches and ask questions right in the search pane, and it would give you an AI overview at the top of the screen followed by links down the page.


Well, Google is rolling this back a little bit. Apparently, there were, certain flaws and flubs in their AI overview. For example, they recommended glue as part of a pizza recipe, and another AI overview suggested that people ingest rocks for nutrients. And let me tell you something that's just scratching the surface of some of the things that this AI overview did.


So, Google itself is rolling it back. From The New York Times article, Liz Read, who was recently promoted to Google's head of search, said in a blog post that the company has pared back AI overviews in certain ways, launching additional “triggering refinements to offer more careful responses about health, disabling misleading advice, and limiting the inclusion of satire in user responses from forums like Reddit.” She says, we’ll keep improving when and how we show AI overviews and strengthening our protections.


So, guys, let me just say, first of all, I don't think there's a single client of mine or anybody running a business that takes the results of an AI search, whether it's on Google or ChatGPT or Microsoft Bing at its face value. I mean, come on, we weren't born yesterday. We know this stuff is new technology. It's just getting started. So, when we search, we ask questions of an AI assistant like Google Gemini or like, you know, ChatGPT, we know you, we take the response that it gives us back. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes it's not. But yeah, we trust, but we verify. That's what it is all about. It's no better than any other assistant that's giving us feedback or information. You wouldn't trust any of that 100%. You're not going to trust what you get back from Google either.


So, I know the media has been having a ball. Social media has been having a blast just roasting Google over some of its weird responses that it's making the queries. We all know that it's going to get better and better and better as this technology trains more on the data that it's using, and we know that it's going to be sooner rather than later, that the information coming out of AI, it's actually going to be very accurate and very reliable information. But at the same time, we also know it's still early days.


So, again, yes, Google is pulling it back. They have some refinements they have to make. I don't think anybody was too surprised. I don't think that's a big impact on your business anyway because you're not relying 100% on this information, are you? Hopefully not.


The third item in the news also has to do with AI. Do you see the trend that we're getting at right now? It's just a little item that was published on the UK site of a Yahoo Finance, and I just thought it was interesting because, it was part of a transcript from an interview with Harley Finkelstein, who is the president of Shopify.


Now, many of you are probably, you know, have heard of Shopify. If you're in the e-commerce world, you might be using Shopify. They say they track transacted over $1 trillion in volume since 2006. So, it's one of the leading e-commerce platforms, and, Ms. Finkelstein says that, you know, AI is absolutely the future, for e-commerce, right?


She says while it may seem impossible for small businesses to compete with well-established big brands, she's confident that it could very well level the playing field. Using generative AI, she says Shopify features and other e-commerce features are going to be allowing just a handful of staff to be posting products, adjusting products, updating products, helping them write descriptions, produce images a lot faster – way beyond what they're doing right now.


Basically, you can take just the smallest of e-commerce businesses and really put them on a level of an Amazon or a larger e-commerce company because it will be doing so much more with just a limited amount of staff, which means that small businesses can really compete on a larger scale.


So, if I was in the e-commerce world, whether you're using Shopify or any of their competitors, I would very much be leaning into every AI tool that comes out. Of course, you're going to test it and you're going to try it out. You're going to make sure it works. But the more that you use these AI tools, the better your business will be in the more work you're going to be getting done with the same number of people in your office, which means more revenues and more profits.


So, lean into AI. Shopify's president says it's absolutely the future for e-commerce, and I couldn't agree with her more.


Well, that's the Week in Review. It's been an AI Week in Review. You've been listening to and watching Gene Marks, and you have also been listening to and watching me talk on the THRIVE Week in Review podcast. This is where we take a few items in the news and go over them with you – and we do this every week – that impacts your small business.


Also, if you are looking for advice and help, would like to see previous episodes, sign up for our Paychex THRIVE newsletter at


Hey, thanks so much for joining us. It was a pleasure. We will see you again next week with some more items in the news that impact your company. Take care and see you then.


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