Be on Alert: How ChatGPT and Other Generative AI Could Foster Science Denial and Misunderstanding

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ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms can be powerful learning tools, as they generate responses to user queries by predicting likely word combinations from a large amount of available online information. However, this tool also poses a risk of inadvertently promoting science denial and misunderstanding. In order to avoid these misunderstandings, individuals must take it upon themselves to ensure the accuracy of the information they consume.

Middlebury College and the University of Southern California are providing funding for the development of generative AI as members of The Conversation US. Among the efforts of The Conversation US, they are seeking to bridge the gap between journalists and the public by providing actionable research that is freely available online.

Before relying on the results of an AI platform, users of generative AI should improve their fact-checking skills and verify the accuracy of any sources presented. To do this, they should invest the time in researching the author and the source, and evaluating the evidence. Additionally, it is important to assess the plausibility of a given claim, as implausible (and oftentimes erroneous) statements produced by AI should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also necessary to promote digital literacy among yourself and in your community, as teaching skills such as social media literacy and lateral reading can minimize the risks associated with consuming online information.

Conclusively, AI can be a powerful tool, but it is also important to take caution when using it. Furthermore, users must not rely entirely on AI to check the accuracy of their online information. Considering its power and ease of use, researching a topic is always the smartest option.

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