“We’re going to learn how to use ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence tool that can help you better understand the class material, overcome challenges, like language and learning barriers, and yes, even give you the answers to assignments.”
Students in Rich Yueh’s winter and spring 2023 courses were not surprised to hear this in the first few weeks of class. “I’m certainly biased as an information systems professor, but I feel that if I don’t let students explore and learn how to use state-of-the-art technologies in class, I would be doing them a disservice,” says Yueh. “It’s also a fun challenge for me to redesign my courses each quarter to allow students to work harmoniously with new technologies.”
Since the release of ChatGPT to the public in November 2022, Yueh has created new assignments that require students to use ChatGPT and added class modules on how to use ChatGPT effectively and how to navigate ethics and bias issues in artificial intelligence.
Well known for his dedication to helping students stay current with technology, Yueh, assistant professor of teaching in information systems, was honored with the 2021-2022 James Merino Innovation Award, which was created and endowed by alumnus James Merino ’98 to recognize faculty bringing new ideas, methods, tools, and technology to the classroom. He is also a three-time Golden Apple winner—an award voted by students choosing the professors who best teach their subjects.
We turned to Yueh for his insight about ChatGPT and its influence on the future of information systems:
How does the emergence of ChatGPT impact work in the field of information systems?
ChatGPT upended the information systems field after its release. Google and other competitors have scrambled to release their own AI models. Leaders quickly looked for ways to incorporate ChatGPT into their organizations, and entire industries, such as education, were forced to rethink policies and procedures, including academic integrity and meaningful student assessment. We’re realizing the potential benefits—and associated downsides—of letting AI handle certain tasks.
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of ChatGPT for the field of information systems?
ChatGPT excels at understanding natural (human) languages and retrieving information. This means that it can understand prompts and questions in context. ChatGPT can generate entire presentation slide decks, troubleshoot complex code, act as a debate partner, and even respond to prompts from the perspective of a famous historical figure. The overall advantage is not what ChatGPT can do, but what people can do with ChatGPT.
Some disadvantages of ChatGPT are that it has a knowledge cutoff and might give incomplete answers about recent events. It is prone to inherit biases from the training data, leading to unintended consequences and ethical concerns. There are also concerns about it being a proprietary product from a for-profit corporation, and how this might affect future pricing and access.
Are any existing positions in the field of information systems at risk of being replaced by ChatGPT and future related technologies, and what kinds of positions might be created?
Low-level positions like data entry and basic programming and content generation are at risk of being replaced by ChatGPT and automation in general. On the other hand, many new types of positions will be created, and I’m following three in particular:
- Human-AI collaboration experts, who can facilitate effective and growing collaboration between humans and machines
- AI integration specialists, who know how to integrate AI into existing systems and corporations and bridge the gap between traditional and AI systems
- AI ethicists and bias auditors, who ensure the responsible and fair use of AI and other technologies.
What is your outlook on the impact of artificial intelligence in the field of information systems in the future?
I have a positive outlook on artificial intelligence. I teach my students to think of it not as artificial intelligence, but as augmented intelligence. In the days just before ChatGPT’s release, we were using machines to augment what we could do as humans alone. After ChatGPT’s release, it’s still the same thing—we’re using and working with technologies to do what we couldn’t before.
Read an article by Prof. Margaret Campbell about possible impacts on the field of marketing: