We Experiment With ChatGPT: Asking Questions About Residence Life and College Student Housing

What does the future of AI-based technology hold? We’re doing a little experiment, specifically with the AI chat-bot, ChatGPT. This post is part of a series where we ask ChatGPT interesting, unusual, or just plain fun questions related to residence life and college student housing. All answers were generated by the AI. At the end of the series, we’ll share what we’ve learned and how you might use it as a tool in your work.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Large Language Models (LLM), and specifically AI-powered chats, such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have been getting a lot of headlines in the news lately. As powerful technologies, they hold both promise and peril. We are already beginning to see uses of this technology show up with our students, but how about in our professional practice? This series explores that.

What is AI? What is ChatGPT?

AI, at its root, involves machines (computers) learning to perform cognitive functions mimicking humans. They’re “intelligent” in the sense that they can “learn” and adapt to different situations. We live with various forms of AI in our everyday lives. From recommendation engines in search sites, to self-driving car technology, to Siri and Alexa, we’re surrounded by AI systems.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence—perceiving, synthesizing, and inferring information—demonstrated by machines, as opposed to intelligence displayed by humans or by other animals. Example tasks in which this is done include speech recognition, computer vision, translation between (natural) languages, as well as other mappings of inputs.[1]

AI applications include advanced web search engines (e.g., Google Search), recommendation systems (used by YouTubeAmazon, and Netflix), understanding human speech (such as Siri and Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g., Waymo), generative or creative tools (ChatGPT and AI art), automated decision-making, and competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go).[2]

From Wikipedia

Most AI systems are currently relatively rudimentary, but they’re growing and advancing at a rapid rate. One of the reasons AI is in the news now because of the advent of AI-powered image generators and chat-bot applications. ChatGPT was one of the first widely available AI-powered chat bots available. Other companies, such as Google, have rushed in to develop their own, such as Google Bard.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by OpenAI and released in November 2022. The name “ChatGPT” combines “Chat”, referring to its chatbot functionality, and “GPT”, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a type of large language model (LLM).[2]

From Wikipedia

AI-powered chat bots like ChatGPT allow you to ask questions and read generated responses. This isn’t a simple question and answer tool. ChatGPT can write full policies, articles, and even generate entire stories or poems. Some students have even gotten into trouble using ChatGPT to write college essays and papers. The technology, even at this nascent stage, is pretty incredible.

Drawing of a shoggoth
Drawing of a “Shoggoth.” A meme originating from @TetraspaceWest to depict how AI tech like ChatGPT works. Originally from the work of H. P. Lovecraft.

What is Our Experiment?

Over the course of the next year, we’re going to do a series of blog posts where we share a question we asked ChatGPT and the response it gave us. We’re going to experiment with a lot of questions, from the silly to the academic. The purpose of this experiment is to showcase how these tools work, and what their potentials and current realities are. We also hope this will highlight interesting use-cases that can help residence life and college student housing professionals in their work. (Don’t worry, we’re not being replaced… yet.) At the end of the experiment, we’ll share our lessons learned.

What are you waiting for? Read some of the responses we’ve gotten from ChatGPT so far:

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