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Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

About this Guide (A Work in Progress)

This guide covers artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education, including background, integration in learning, ethics, and resources. AI as a technology and tools in education is quickly evolving, please check back for updates and developments. Along with AI technology, this guide is under construction and a work in progress. Many of the tools listed in this guide are under development and experimental and have not been evaluated by Iona University Libraries.  

What are ChatBots?

"At the most basic level, a chatbot is a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation (either written or spoken), allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person. Chatbots can be as simple as rudimentary programs that answer a simple query with a single-line response, or as sophisticated as digital assistants that learn and evolve to deliver increasing levels of personalization as they gather and process information."


What is ChatGPT?

Learn more about ChatGPT-4 from OpenAI

Read the CharGPT 4 Technical Report at

ChatGPT is a GPT-3-based natural language processing tool that allows users to have human-like conversations with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.GPT-3.5 is a language model trained to produce text. ChatGPT is optimized for dialogue by using Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) – a method that uses human demonstrations to guide the model toward desired behavior.

Learn more about RLHF:


What is Artificial Intelligence?

"AI has become a catchall term for applications that perform complex tasks that once required human input such as communicating with customers online or playing chess." 


Elements of AI -  Online course from the University of Helsinki 

What do you need to know about ChatGPT?

New ways to manage your data in ChatGPT (April 26, 2023)

Learn more about ChatGPT-4 from OpenAI

Watch an interview with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (ABC News) March 16, 2023

Five things to know about ChatGPT 4 (from The Hill)

ChatGPT Privacy Policies

OpenAI (the company that designed ChatGPT) collects quite a bit of data from ChatGPT users.

  • The privacy policy states that this data can be shared with third-party vendors, law enforcement, affiliates, and other users.
  • This tool should not be used by children under 13 (data collection from children under 13 violates the United States’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule - COPPA).
  • The Terms of Use state that “you must be 18 years or older and able to form a binding contract with OpenAI to use the Services” (OpenAI, 2022, para. 2). .
  • While you can request to have your ChatGPT account deleted, the prompts and questions you input into ChatGPT cannot be deleted. If you were to ask ChatGPT about sensitive or controversial topics, this data cannot be removed.

TIP: Before using ChatGPT, please read over the privacy policy and terms of use and review how data is collected and shared as outlined in the policies. 

ChatGPT is not always trustworthy.

  • ChatGPT was trained using a massive dataset of text written by humans that was pulled from the Internet.
  • Responses can reflect the biases of the humans who wrote the text used in the training dataset.
  • ChatGPT is not connected to the Internet and as of January, 2023, the data used to train it was collected prior to 2021.
  • According to the OpenAI FAQs, ChatGPT “has limited knowledge of world and events after 2021 and may also occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content”. 

How should AI systems behave, and who should decide? (from OpenAI)

Model Behavior Guidelines from openAI on how ChatGPT should respond when prompted with things about US “culture wars.” The rules include not affiliating with political parties or judging one group as good or bad, for example.

ChatGPT responses are not always true and factual. 

  • To make up for knowledge gaps ChatGPT will provide a response to the best of its ability (often fabricated) rather than say “error” or “cannot compute.”

Users of ChatGPT provide free labor to OpenAI.

  • ChatGPT is in its infancy. It will continue to become a more intelligent form of artificial intelligence with the help of users who provide feedback to the responses it generates.


Limitation of ChatGPT (defined by OpenAI)

  • ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers. Fixing this issue is challenging, as: (1) during RL training, there’s currently no source of truth; (2) training the model to be more cautious causes it to decline questions that it can answer correctly; and (3) supervised training misleads the model because the ideal answer depends on what the model knows, rather than what the human demonstrator knows.
  • ChatGPT is sensitive to tweaks to the input phrasing or attempting the same prompt multiple times. For example, given one phrasing of a question, the model can claim to not know the answer, but given a slight rephrase, can answer correctly.
  • The model is often excessively verbose and overuses certain phrases, such as restating that it’s a language model trained by OpenAI. These issues arise from biases in the training data (trainers prefer longer answers that look more comprehensive) and well-known over-optimization issues.
  • Ideally, the model would ask clarifying questions when the user provided an ambiguous query. Instead, our current models usually guess what the user intended.
  • While we’ve made efforts to make the model refuse inappropriate requests, it will sometimes respond to harmful instructions or exhibit biased behavior. We’re using the Moderation API to warn or block certain types of unsafe content, but we expect it to have some false negatives and positives for now. We’re eager to collect user feedback to aid our ongoing work to improve this system.  (Retrieved January 20, 2023)


Content used and modified with permission from Torrey Trust at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved January 19, 2023.