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Using generative AI more responsibly

I've been teaching at MacEwan University in the Arts and Cultural Management program for over a decade. The last few years, project management has been my focus. Our university has several options for instructors to engage with AI, from prohibiting use of it to a more integrated approach. In my course students may use the technology and I've written some advice for my class to help them use the technology responsibly.

Hi everyone,

Some of you might choose to use generative AI in your work. Firstly, you are allowed to do so in this course as long as you let me know that you are using it and how you are using it. You can cite any direct passages from the tool much as you would cite any other work. For more details, check out this guidance under Permitted with Acknowledgement.

AI is much bigger than just generative AI but it's likely that this form of AI is what you might encounter as an end-user. If you decide to use generative AI in this course (and its not necessary at all - its a personal choice), I'd like to make sure you are doing this as ethically and responsibly as possible.

Generative AI has several ethical issues that you will not solve. They are related to how the technology is made, using questionable (some say stolen) data sources in their training and exploiting workers during the data preparation that enables training. There are also environmental costs associated with using large language models. They are data and carbon intensive. You should know these things even if you ultimately will not address these issues as an end user. Here's a brief overview of this:

In terms of using the technology, you should be very aware of data privacy. Whenever you put information into these systems you are data sharing.

Do not share personal or sensitive details about your work with these systems. That includes client names, names of people working on the project, vendors, budget details, dates, times, locations - anything that is specific to your project.

Remember to take data privacy seriously! You can mask those details by using more general terms. For example say "an art gallery" instead of saying the gallery's actual name. Use roles for team members rather than names, for example say "the marketing manager" vs their actual name. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Another thing to be aware of is that these systems have NO UNDERSTANDING at all. They appear to understand because they can convincingly string words together in a way that sounds coherent. This means they are prone to making mistakes, even fabricating information. You are responsible for the accuracy of your work, so be aware of this failing. 

If you plan to use these tools, be aware of these issues and also understand where and how these tools might be beneficial vs harmful or inappropriate. 

I've attached a PDF with some prompts and outcomes that might be useful for you to review. HINT - there are some things wrong with the generic work breakdown structure in the last prompt - see if you can find the issues.

Overall, make sure you put YOUR own work into the project and apply all the creativity, originality and HUMAN thinking I know you can bring to this course. Use the tool to support you, not to replace you.

Questions? Let me know. 


By Katrina Ingram, CEO, Ethically Aligned AI

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