Life-changing chatbot…

Published March 26, 2023

THE arrival and impressive performance of the generative artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT has left the world stunned, but also wary of its impact. The chatbot is indeed remarkable — an all-knowing bot that can provide text-based responses to questions about complicated science, fulfil requests to write college-level essays, and much more. Such an AI tool can be used across industries. Specifically, academics and journalists can use it to produce written work that is researched and structured. In fact, some Western media outlets are already experimenting with this technology, with varying degrees of success. One outlet experimented with the bot to determine whether it could “efficiently assist” their journalists in using publicly available facts to create content. The results were impressive, but required fact-checking, proofreading and editing by journalists. Still, they provided a window into a future where bots could overtake large functions of a journalist’s job. A study published in Finance Research Letters showed that ChatGPT could be successfully used to write a finance paper fit for an academic journal, and that after adding human expertise to cover the programme’s limitations, the end result was positive. Many have even begun to view such an AI bot as an alternative to search engines — and a better one at that as its answers are much more detailed.

However, despite its human-like responses, the chatbot is not without its flaws. It is important to know that while ChatGPT has been trained on text data, one of its primary drawbacks is that it lacks creativity and personality. Typically, content generated by AI can be devoid of emotion, and can therefore be less engaging for readers. Secondly, because it lacks the ability to contextualise information, it can lead to factual errors. And then, there is always the issue of unethical behaviour, such as when students are tempted to use chatbots for writing assignments rather than applying their own skills. Chat GPT is an opportunity — but one with limitations.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2023

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