Dealing with A.I.
In times of digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in companies in various industries. Various artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can produce texts, images or videos are now widely used. One example is the text-based dialogue system "ChatGPT", which was released by the company OpenAI in November 2022. Most AI tools are based on machine learning technology and can be controlled simply and user-friendly with normal language in the sense of a chatbot by entering user instructions, so-called prompts. The chatbots draw on training data and reproduce it in dialogues with users. Based on these dialogues, AI tools can generate various text forms, translate texts, perform complex calculations, write programme code or create individual graphics.
The free availability and increasing accessibility of these AI tools raise the question of how to deal with them. For example, the generation of content by an AI tool can be a valuable help with many tasks in your studies, if it is used sensibly. Furthermore, since we consider the engagement with such AI tools in the context of digital transformation to be an essential competence for you before entering your professional life, we would like to give you some hints and recommendations with this guide on how you can use AI tools, such as ChatGPT, in the context of your studies and which aspects you should consider. Basically, we recommend continuously trying out AI tools in order to develop your own feeling for their possibilities. These will constantly expand due to the technical further development of AI. At the same time, we recommend that you determine the limits of AI tools and constantly reassess the generated content for its truth content. This requires a critical attitude and can best be achieved in cooperation with your teachers and other students.
How can AI tools be used to support work processes in a meaningful way?
AI tools can be useful in researching information online. For example, they can be used to summarise or simplify important aspects of new subject knowledge, to create summaries of extensive texts and research papers, or to gather information on specific topics.
AI tools can also be used to automate tasks that take up a lot of time. For example, they can help to simplify the writing of texts, evaluate data or perform various analyses.
AI tools can also help you develop and elaborate new ideas. For example, they can help you identify relevant topics for coursework.
How can you use AI tools responsibly in your studies?
Do not use AI tools to automate tasks assigned to you, such as writing seminar papers or theses. Do not use AI tools as a substitute for your own skills. AI tools can help you improve and simplify your work, but they must not replace your own thinking.
If you use AI tools, you must critically examine the associated sources - an AI is a secondary source that may contain incorrect or ethically questionable (e.g. discriminatory) information. As the author of a paper, you are solely responsible for the content of your paper, regardless of whether relevant text passages were generated by you or by an AI tool. It is part of academic due diligence to ensure good scientific practice to always check all information yourself against established and trustworthy sources. Please follow the instructions on how to correctly cite AI content under "Marking AI-generated texts" as well as under the item "Plagiarism and incorrect scientific source citations". Likewise, you yourself are responsible for compliance with data protection guidelines when using personal data when using an AI tool.
What are guidelines for the use of AI tools in scientific work?
Instead of just submitting a text as a solution for a course assignment, in future you will increasingly be asked to explain how you structured the solution and the solution path for a specific assignment. This particularly includes the question of when and how you used which AI tools.
If course leaders allow the use of AI tools to generate coursework, you must clearly mark this in the text, even if an AI-generated text was subsequently changed by you. AI-generated content that you adopt must therefore be marked according to the usual citation rules. Please note, however, that AI content is a secondary source and the common AI tools do not cite the primary sources they use according to the usual citation rules. It must therefore always be decided on a case-by-case basis whether AI-generated content may be taken directly (e.g. because it is itself the subject of the research) or whether it may only be used as a starting point for further research, e.g. on the primary sources used by the AI.
Please note that when using AI tools in scientific papers, the source material (i.e. which AI tool was used) and the prompts (i.e. which data inputs were made) must be clearly identifiable so that similar results can be reproduced as far as possible at the time your performance is assessed. To this end, we recommend the use of tables that exemplify the prompts used to represent your thought processes. Details on the use of AI tools should be provided in separate documentation, e.g. as part of an index on the use of technical tools.
With the introduction and increasing availability of AI tools, instruments have also been developed that can identify whether or not a text, e.g. within a student seminar paper or thesis, was generated by an AI tool. We therefore ask you to note that course leaders can also use such tools to check their texts, comparable to a plagiarism check.
Course leaders have the discretion to encourage or restrict the use of AI tools in line with the learning objectives and assessment requirements of the course. For introductory courses, the guidelines for the use of AI tools should be clearly discussed in the course and, if possible, published in OLAT.
What are the possible negative consequences of using AI tools?
Scientific work at this faculty can be checked electronically for plagiarism and for third-party authorship of human or technical origin. Content from AI tools that is incorporated into one's own work must be labelled as such without exception and must not be passed off as one's own work, otherwise plagiarism is present that could later lead to the assessment being annulled.
As already mentioned, previous AI systems do not fully identify primary sources, which can be problematic in terms of copyright. Even if the adoption of generated texts by an AI is marked, it must therefore always be decided on a case-by-case basis whether this is possible without further research into the primary sources.
Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that examination performances in which you have to manage without the use of any aids will remain an essential part of the performance assessment. Thus, in written and oral examinations within the framework of your studies, the use of AI tools as well as the use of other aids will only be permitted in exceptional cases if the course instructors explicitly allow this (e.g. in open-book examinations).
We hope that these tips and recommendations will help you when using AI tools in your studies.