As technology increasingly embeds itself into modern life, every profession must be prepared. And social work is no exception.
Technology, specifically artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, can enhance social workers’ quality of care for their clients. Professionals like Fordham GSS Associate Professor Lauri Goldkind, Ph.D., recommend that social workers approach these new tools enthusiastically and skeptically.
Goldkind was interviewed by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for its new article “ChatGPT and Social Work: Be Excited, Curious, and Skeptical.”
From the article:
…“For social work, what’s happening with ChatGPT is both frightening and exciting,” says Lauri Goldkind, PhD, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University and editor in chief of the Journal of Technology in Human Services Data Justice Collective. “Social workers need to engage with it with a critical lens. Be excited, curious — and skeptical.”
Goldkind, whose research interests include exploring ideas in human data interaction, data justice, nonprofit tech, small data and the intersections of human rights, suggests one of the best and easiest ways to quickly grasp what AI is capable of is to try out ChatGPT.
…Goldkind recommends that at this point in time what is most important is for social workers to try using ChatGPT, but look at it with a critical eye.
“This is something we need to interrogate and reconsider our interventions. It opens a window to explore new possibilities,” she says. “Examples of questions to ask ourselves are, ‘How many more clients could I see if I used it? How many other things could I do?’”
…Goldkind has co-authored AI-social work studies independently, as well as with Nissan. She agrees there are both pluses and minuses to AI and ChatGPT.
She urges social work practitioners to increase their digital literacy and consider the role of ChatGPT in their practice and explore how it can augment — or disrupt — their work.
One specific missive is for social work educators to become fully aware they need to confront the reality that ChatGPT can allow their students to bypass fundamental engagement with the prompts of learning that produce professional knowledge. Educators must also consider the ethical use of AI tools and alternative assessment strategies that allow for meaningful demonstrations of competency.