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ChatGPT and Generative AI

Develop an understanding of ChatGPT and other generative AIs and how it impact your studies here at Santa Clara University

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is one example of what is called "Generative AI." These are tools that receive a prompt and generate output - for example, asking ChatGPT for suggestions for a list of book recommendations. Another example of Generative AI is MidJourney - this tool takes text prompts and converts them into images. These tools were trained on a vast amount of data. In the case of ChatGPT, it was based on textual data - books, articles, websites. 

You interact with ChatGPT by typing "prompts" - these could be questions, commands, multi-sentence, short sentences etc. It then takes that text and tries to come up with an appropriate response, based on the information it has been trained on. 

I asked ChatGPT to explain itself to college students. Let's see how it does

ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot designed for text-based conversations. It understands and generates human-like responses in natural language, making it useful for answering questions, academic help, and more. It's trained on vast text data, enabling contextual understanding and memory within conversations. College students can use it for research, academic assistance, and casual conversations. However, it may produce incorrect or biased responses due to its training data. Users should exercise caution, respect privacy, and employ critical thinking. ChatGPT is a versatile tool for various purposes, but responsible use and awareness of its limitations are essential.

Overall, not a bad descriptor!

Issues and concerns with ChatGPT

While ChatGPT seems like a powerful tool, we have to consider some of its limitations and address some concerns with using it. 

Limitations and Concerns:

  • Can only output text
  • Limited knowledge of recent events (it was trained on data up to September 2021
  • Has been known to "hallucinate" - create inaccurate responses such as article citations that don't exist
  • May output biased responses due to its training data

Despite these, there are some benefits to exploring ChatGPT.

  • Can act as a tutor, supplying simple, understandable explanations for many complex topics
  • Useful as a starting point for a writing project (draft an outline, receive sample text, etc.)
  • Useful for brainstorming for research project ideas, keywords, search terms, etc. 

Academic Honesty

While there is no official campus policy regarding using ChatGPT, you should consider the impact of relying on ChatGPT to do your assignments for you. 

If you plan to use ChatGPT for your assignments, make sure to check with your instructor beforehand. This will help to establish what is appropriate and inappropriate use of ChatGPT. They may have a statement in their syllabus saying what you can and can't do.

If you are allowed or encouraged to use ChatGPT, make sure you follow appropriate citation rules. It is the early days for ChatGPT and generative AI, so the rules might not be fully set for each citation style - do your best and check out our Library resources for help.