In January 2023, ChatGPT seemed to pop up overnight. In staff meetings, casual conversations, and conference sessions, the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot—a software application that mimics human conversation through text or voice interactions—was the hot, new topic in seemingly every industry. Although ChatGPT was actually released as a free prototype in November 2022 by the AI laboratory OpenAI, which created it, it took a few months to hit the mainstream. Reaction ranged from fascination and high hopes to fear that the “robots” were taking over.
ChatGPT is only one example of a generative AI tool, a type of AI that generates content, including images and text. ChatGPT is a type of large language model, which is a model trained on large quantities of text, and it can perform a variety of tasks. The November release last year was based on Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT)-3.5. In March 2023, OpenAI released GPT-4 as a paid version.
Generative AI tools carry a lot of promise in health care, potentially increasing efficiency and improving patient communication, but experts caution that these are very early days. ChatGPT and similar tools come with risks and warnings about inaccuracy and bias, among other areas. In addition, clinicians must be sure tools they are using adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“There's a lot of promise for artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said nephrologist Girish N. Nadkarni, MD, MPH, director of The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine and system chief of the Division of Data-Driven and Digital Medicine (D3M) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “One is the significant promise in helping to cut down the drudgery of medicine…. More specific to nephrology, if you think about patients on dialysis, there's a lot of documentation burden there.”
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