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AI & Generative Chat Tools: Using Generative AI Tools

Library guide on artificial intelligence tools and citing

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Maddi Brenner
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This page was used and replicated by the University of California San Diego Libraries. For more information on building AI-powered apps, code generation, transcriptions and caption, please review their library guide.

Generative AI in Action

Image generated by Craiyon from the prompt "University of Iowa"

Critical thinking is especially important when evaluating and interpreting AI-generated results. If we look at these AI-generated images, and compare them to what the University of Iowa actually looks like, there is no question that these results are not at all accurate, including the logo, building designs and icons.

There is no documentation of how and why this AI-generated tool built these pictures or the accuracy in sourcing. This can make it challenging further to understand what is right and wrong while using AI. The key is to check your sources, use multiple sources for research and back-up your content through references. As we navigate the changing environment of AI, it is important to note that we are all learning, re-learning and working through the accuracy and effectiveness of different generative artificial intelligence tools. 

Reference: University of San Diego Libraries

How to Write Prompts

Using AI tools effectively requires the user to know the right questions to ask, and how to phrase them for the best results. Vague or generic questions generate vague or generic results. (In other words, garbage in, garbage out.)

Tips for crafting prompts to get the best results from chatbots:

  • Write clear instructions: be specific about the format of the output - number of words or paragraphs, writing style or tone, reading level, formatting such as bullet points, a table, html, css, etc. Treat the chatbot like a brand new assistant who is eager to please but doesn't know what they don't know.
  • Instruct the chatbot to take on an expert role: for example, "act as a mathematician" or "take on the role of a professional news blogger" or "I want you to act as a Linux terminal."
  • Provide the chatbot with examples or a reference text.
  • Split complex tasks into simpler subtasks. 
  • Beware hallucinations, or the chatbot confidently stating incorrect or made up information. If you are unfamiliar with the topic, check the chatbot's work. ChatGPT and other chatbots are notorious for making up citations to sources that simply do not exist. Bing, Google Search Generative Experience, or Perplexity may be better choices because they provide links to the websites they claim as information sources.  

Comparing the AI Chatbots

Many tech reviewers have published comparisons between ChatGPT, Bing, and Bard, reviewing the responses of each to a variety of prompts. The paid subscription version of ChatGPT, powered by GPT-4, almost always scores the highest. Bing (now referred to as CoPilot in Edge), which is also powered by GPT-4 plus Bing web search, often scores well and has the added bonuses of being free and linking back to websites containing the information it provides. Google's Bard is accessible to anyone with a Google account but can be prone to hallucinations; Google SGE (Search Generative Experience) seems to combine the best of Google searching and AI chatbot.

Searching

If you are working on a project that requires citations, you want to confirm the generative AI chatbot's information sources, or you are seeking information newer than would be included in the chatbot's large language model (LLM), you will want to use a generative AI tool with internet search capabilities like Bing AI or Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

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