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Artificial Intelligence (ChatGPT): What you should know

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According to Wikipedia, generative artificial intelligence is artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, or other media in response to prompts.  And, generative AI has potential applications across a wide range of industries, including art, writing, software development, product design, healthcare, finance, gaming, marketing, and fashion. (Wikipedia, 2023)

What is ChatGPT? How does it work?

ChatGPT is a type of artificial intelligence model trained to generate coherent, human-like pieces of writing on a given topic. “ChatGPT was optimized for dialogue,” (ChatGPT FAQ | OpenAI Help Center) which means users interact with a chatbot in a conversational context, and the chatbot will compose text based upon the user’s prompts. The bot is capable of generating text on a variety of topics and in a variety of styles, “you simply type in a question or give it a command and it generates text for you.” (AUA Center for Teaching and Learning)

You may be interested in experimenting with the tool to learn more:  ChatGPT is “free” because it collects information from its users (e.g., when and how users interact with the tool, users’ IP address, browser type, time zone, type of device, operating system, and country) and may share information with third-party vendors and affiliates (ChatGPT, Dr. Torrey Trust).  For those reasons, we suggest you avoid submitting any sensitive or personal information. In addition, we suggest you review the privacy policy and terms of service with students as a learning exercise.

Another helpful resource to learn more about Chat GPT is this presentation developed by Dr. Torrey Trust (U Mass Amherst) that includes a variety of previously submitted prompts and completed output. (ChatGPT & Education, Dr. Torrey Trust).


Why is ChatGPT significant?


ChatGPT launched as a prototype to the public Nov. 30, 2022. Within five days, more than a million people were using it. (USA Today, Jan 2023)

ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is the latest viral sensation out of San Francisco-based startup OpenAIChatGPT: A new AI assistant (advanced chatbot), has been released to the public (currently free) with enhanced capabilities. ChatGPT can be used to generate text on many topics, and can be customized/fine-tuned to produce text in a specific style or on a specific topic. – You simply type in a question or give it a command and it generates text for you. Available here:

Some of the benefits of ChatGPT ( ChatGPT explained)

  • Improved efficiency and accuracy in NLP-related tasks
  • Quickly and accurate responses to a wide range of questions
  • Assistance with a wide range of tasks that require the understanding and generation of natural language

What are the downsides of AI?


Information that sounds correct but is NOT"If it is trained to be more cautious, it can end up declining questions that it can answer correctly" 

Sensitive to slight tweaks in the input:  The response from ChatGPT for instance, can be conflicting because phrasing can be slightly changed or the same prompt is made several times.  

Bias is an issue:  The ChatGPT model can be biased due to the training data.  "It can also use certain phrases excessively". Bard within Google offers similar issues.

Does not ask clarifying questions:  The current model does not follow up to the question.  It will make guesses if the user gives it an ambiguous question.

Response to inappropriate or harmful requests: "While the model usually refuses to accept inappropriate requests, it does sometimes respond to harmful instructions. Typically, unsafe content is regulated by Moderation API, but from time to time, it demonstrates false negatives and positives. However, the good news is that appropriate user feedback is being taken into consideration to improve the current system."

Information from

Additional issues:

  • Ethical violations and lack of integrity
  • Students not mastering skills they need to succeed, like researching a topic.
  • But there is also a downside to banning this tool and not understanding how it works and why it was created and the problems it is attempting to fix.