Will generative AI change the way universities communicate?

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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Is artificial intelligence an unprecedented opportunity, or will it take away everyone's jobs and creativity? As we discuss on social media (and probably use ChatGPT almost daily), generative AIs have also entered the field of university communication. These tools—based on large language models optimized for interactive communication—can actually support, extend, and innovate a university's communication offerings.

Justice Henke has analyzed the German factual situation almost six months after the launch of ChatGPT 3. “This research was done about a year ago when the excitement was high, but it was still too early for people to understand the potential of the medium.” Explains

This initial early monitoring showed that use was already widespread at the time. Henke distributed a questionnaire to all press/communications offices of universities in the country, receiving 101 responses, about one-third of the total. Virtually all respondents declared that they make some use of generative AIs.

Translation, text correction and text creation are the main uses recorded by Hanke. Other functions proposed in the questionnaire—image creation, slide production, or document analysis—are rather trivial.

“What we observe in this preliminary work is that as far as communication is concerned, artificial intelligence is adopted by universities mainly to increase the efficiency of processes, for example, to speed them up, in less time. Overworking,” Henke explains.

What also emerges, particularly in some of the more open responses, is a certain caution and a growing awareness of ethical aspects. An example is data protection. “For example, one thinks it is wise, or right, to combine these intelligences—owned by private companies—with university data. The issue of privacy is also important,” the researcher says.

In this sense, “more and more universities in Germany are releasing their own examples of creative AI chatbots, on dedicated servers, to try to maintain control over these critical aspects.”

“There's not only a technological shift going on, but also a cultural one,” Henke adds. “Typically early adopters are younger and fresher in the profession, more open to change.”

However, the glaring problem is that there is no policy that works for everyone. Many are also worried about the possibility that these technologies could replace jobs. “You need to take the social side of technology adoption seriously,” Henke says.

Henke, who is now working on a new survey to assess the situation a year later, believes he will see the situation evolve further: “I know that the use of creative AI tools will increase. is bound to.”

“Last year people were experimenting, but in the comments, they also mentioned that sometimes they weren't satisfied with the results. It was probably a matter of competence. They didn't know, for example, that there was one for them. How to make an effective gesture.Objectives

“Perhaps that aspect has improved today. We now have to pivot and focus on a more strategic and integrated AI approach,” especially in light of the constant updates and advancements of these tools (on ChatGPT-4o was recently launched, sparking controversy over security, even among staff at OpenAI, the company that owns ChatGPT).

More information:
Justice Hanke, Navigating the AI ​​Age: Perspectives on University Communication Strategies and Creative AI Tools, Journal of Science Communication (2024). DOI: 10.22323/2.23030205

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