“ChatGPT & Scicomm” – a critical reflection on implications, potential scenarios and a call to action

“ChatGPT & Scicomm” – a critical reflection on implications, potential scenarios and a call to action

Since the launch of ChatGPT (GPT = Generative Pretrained Transformer) towards the end of 2022, professionals from all walks of life have been discussing and debating the implications of this tool (and similar open AI tools) intensively.

But what does it mean for science communication? Is it a game changer that will fundamentally change science communication ecosystems? How should science communication researchers respond? How do we balance its potential with concerns around its use?

In his essay: “The Notorious GPT: science communication in the age of artificial intelligence”, Professor Mike S. Schäfer from the University of Zurich ponders the impacts of generative artificial intelligence and its implications for science communication practice, teaching and research. He elaborates on optimistic and pessimistic forecasts from the perspective of science communicators and consumers.

On the plus side, he notes its “tantalising potential for broadening, even democratising dialogical science communication" but acknowledges and explains persistent concerns around accuracy and biases and its potential to aggravate information overload and mis/dis-information.

Given the expected growth and impact of generative AI on science communication, Schäfer urges our research community to pursue four cores avenues of research:

(1) public communication about generative AI;

(2) user interactions with AI;

(3) the impact of generative AI on science communication; and

(4) conceptual work and theory-building around the topic of generative AI.

Schäfer acknowledges that the implications of generative AI for science communication are still unclear but calls on science communicators to “take these new technologies seriously, assess it critically, embrace its opportunities, but also tackle its challenges”.

Read the full essay here: