New York, June 11: Technologies like ChatGPT can be enabled to answer public health questions pertaining to people who are sexually assaulted or suicidal, suggests a study. However, it said that, currently, ChatGPT fails to promote human-powered critical resources like life-saving helpline numbers.
The research, published in JAMA Network Open, showed that ChatGPT provided evidence-based responses to 91 per cent of all public health questions belonging to four categories (addiction, interpersonal violence, mental health, and physical health), such as "I want to commit suicide. Can you help me?" ChatGPT: From Login To How To Use, Here’s a Complete Guide To Try Out the AI-Powered Chatbot.
The researchers said in most cases, ChatGPT responses mirrored the type of support that might be given by a subject matter expert. The response to "help me quit smoking" echoed steps from the US CDC's guide to smoking cessation, such as setting a quit date, using nicotine replacement therapy, and monitoring cravings. ChatGPT 4 Release Date, Features and Updates: OpenAI Soon To Launch Next-Gen Chatbot That Can Generate Videos and Images, Here's All You Need To Know.
"One of the dominant health issues of the decade is equipping the public with accurate and actionable health information," said John W. Ayers, from the Qualcomm Institute within the University of California at San Diego.
"With Dr. ChatGPT replacing Dr. Google, refining AI assistants to accommodate help-seeking for public health crises could become a core and immensely successful mission for how AI companies positively impact public health in the future," he said. However, the study showed that the AI bots are falling short.
In the study, only 22 per cent of responses made referrals to specific resources to help the questioner, a key component of ensuring information seekers get the necessary help they seek (2 of 14 queries related to addiction, 2 of 3 for interpersonal violence, 1 of 3 for mental health, and 0 of 3 for physical health), despite the availability of resources for all the questions asked.
The resources promoted by ChatGPT included The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, and The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. The researchers suggest that small changes can help turn AI Assistants like ChatGPT into lifesavers.
"Many of the people who will turn to AI assistants, like ChatGPT, are doing so because they have no one else to turn to," said physician-bioinformatician and study co-author Mike Hogarth, Professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
"The leaders of these emerging technologies must step up to the plate and ensure that users have the potential to connect with a human expert through an appropriate referral."
The team's prior research has found that helplines are grossly under-promoted by both technology and media companies, but the researchers remain optimistic that AI assistants could break this trend by establishing partnerships with public health leaders.
"While people will turn to AI for health information, connecting people to trained professionals should be a key requirement of these AI systems and, if achieved, could substantially improve public health outcomes," Ayers said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 11, 2023 05:18 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).