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Using ChatGPT as a Social Worker?


Nearly a year after its release into the mainstream, ChatGPT has exploded in popularity, and social work is not immune to its impacts. While automation tools and artificial intelligence may serve as handy assistants to the modern-day social worker, the profession must be careful when using them, Fordham GSS Associate Professor Lauri Goldkind, Ph.D., wrote in a recent article.

Goldkind’s article, titled “The End of the World as We Know It? ChatGPT and Social Work,” was published in Social Work and argues that while “ChatGPT offers resources to clients and provides social workers with novel tools to support them,” social workers must think deeply when deciding which tasks are appropriate for artificial intelligence to assist, and which are not.

“Its advent asks us to undertake a realistic census of the core functions of social work and contemplate which human actions should not be supplanted by intelligent machines,” Goldkind writes. “AI tools may automate some human tasks, but they have no intrinsic ethics, do not build relationships or identify social problems, and cannot build community.”

Goldkind concludes with a tone of hope, offering that ChatGPT offers an opportunity for social workers to prioritize thinking about the future in their work. While it’s not social work’s burden to decide what tools are good and bad, social workers should “consider a complex human–AI ecology approach; engage in developmental, relational, and political dialogue; and insist that imagination be grounded in human rights.”

Read the article here. 


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