SJSU IT Tips – ChatGPT

Campus colleagues,

If you’ve read the news recently, you’ve likely heard about ChatGPT. In this week’s tip, we will share some information to consider when interacting with this technology.

ChatGPT is an AI-based conversational agent or chatbot that uses natural language processing to understand and respond to user inputs. ChatGPT can engage in a wide range of interactions, from content generation to answering casual or complex questions. The primary difference between ChatGPT and a search engine is that ChatGPT is designed to simulate human-like conversations, while search engines are designed to help users find information quickly and efficiently.

When using ChatGPT, there are some potential risks which you should consider:

  • Intellectual Property and Confidentiality Violations–When entering information into ChatGPT, you should be very careful not to enter proprietary or confidential information. Samsung recently banned employees from using generative AI applications like ChatGPT after an employee reportedly input sensitive data into ChatGPT. (Source: GCN).
  • Accuracy–When using a tool like ChatGPT, it is important to validate the accuracy of the information which is returned. ChatGPT generates its responses by curating pieces of content from various sources and then compiling that information into a unified coherent response. What ChatGPT is not able to do is verify the accuracy of the information it gathers. In tests conducted with ChatGPT where the queries were essentially the same but had slight differences in the wording of the input, ChatGPT provided inconsistent conclusions and responses (Source: Psychology Today).
  • Data Privacy and Usage–In addition to personal data such as name and contact information, OpenAI, the company that built ChatGPT, states that they may also “collect Personal Information that is included in the input, file uploads, or feedback that you provide” when interacting with ChatGPT (Source: OpenAI Privacy Policy). For this reason, you should be cautious about entering any personal information into ChatGPT.

Thank you Jeffrey Japp, from our Project Management Office, for gathering the information included in this tip. As always, the SJSU IT Service Desk is here to help by phone at (408) 924-1530 or online.

Bob Lim
Vice President for Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

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