A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal *Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics* has unveiled promising results regarding the ability of the AI chatbot ChatGPT to dispel vaccine myths and potentially increase vaccine uptake. The study, conducted by researchers from the GenPoB research group at the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria (IDIS) – Hospital Clinico Universitario of Santiago de Compostela, focused on ChatGPT’s capacity to provide accurate and understandable information related to Covid-19 vaccines.
Dispelling vaccine myths through AI chatbot ChatGPT
In an effort to address vaccine hesitancy exacerbated by misinformation, the researchers tasked ChatGPT with answering the top 50 most frequently-asked questions about Covid-19 vaccines, including queries rooted in myths and false narratives. These questions covered a range of topics, from the vaccine causing Long Covid to medical situations where the vaccine is safe to use, and cases where precautions should be taken.
The results of the study indicated that ChatGPT achieved an average accuracy score of nine out of ten in its responses. While mostly accurate, the AI chatbot occasionally left gaps in the information provided. However, the researchers emphasized that ChatGPT can serve as a reliable source of non-technical information for the public, particularly individuals without specialized scientific knowledge.
AI’s role in promoting vaccine uptake
Vaccine hesitancy has been identified as a significant global health threat, with misinformation playing a pivotal role in undermining public trust in vaccines. During the Covid-19 pandemic, false narratives spread through social media further contributed to vaccine hesitancy. In response, experts are exploring innovative ways to combat misinformation and enhance vaccine uptake.
ChatGPT’s ability to provide human-like conversations and easy-to-understand information makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals. The study authors recognized that while ChatGPT cannot replace experts or scientific evidence, it can potentially function as a trustworthy source of information for the general public.
ChatGPT’s effectiveness in debunking vaccine myths
The study demonstrated ChatGPT’s proficiency in crafting narratives aligned with scientific evidence, debunking myths circulated on social media. Lead author Antonio Salas, who is associated with the GenPoB research group and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Santiago de Compostela, affirmed that the AI chatbot’s responses were in line with current scientific evidence, thus fostering an environment of increased vaccine uptake.
However, the researchers did highlight potential concerns, such as ChatGPT altering its answers under certain circumstances. Despite this, the researchers remained optimistic about the AI tool’s potential to dispel vaccine-related misinformation and encourage public trust in vaccinations.
AI’s impact on vaccine hesitancy and misinformation
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized vaccine hesitancy as a major global health challenge. Amid the pandemic, misinformation propagated through various platforms eroded confidence in Covid-19 vaccines. The study’s authors, including researchers from the Hospital Clinico Universitario de Santiago, a designated WHO vaccine safety collaborating center, sought to assess ChatGPT’s ability to combat vaccine myths and provide accurate information.
Methodology and findings of the study
The researchers designed the study to evaluate ChatGPT’s accuracy in addressing commonly asked questions. The questions encompassed misconceptions, false contraindications, and true contraindications related to Covid-19 vaccines. The study found that ChatGPT’s responses were mostly accurate, achieving an average accuracy rate of 85.5%. While there were instances of gaps in information, the responses provided were consistent with current scientific evidence and recommendations from international agencies.
The study’s methodology included assessing ChatGPT’s veracity and precision against existing scientific evidence, aiming to provide accurate information aligned with the latest insights in the field. This approach was chosen to counteract the potential for biased or incorrect answers, which may arise from algorithms based on individual preferences.
AI’s future role in combatting misinformation
The results of the study indicate that ChatGPT can effectively address vaccine myths and promote accurate information to the public. Despite its limitations, such as the potential for varied responses or deviation from evidence-based information, ChatGPT has demonstrated promise as a tool to combat misinformation and enhance understanding of vaccine safety.
Professor Salas, an expert in human genetics, acknowledged that ChatGPT’s responses can be influenced by how questions are presented. However, the researchers maintained that ChatGPT’s default behavior aligns with scientific evidence. The study’s findings suggest that the AI chatbot’s efficacy in addressing vaccine myths can potentially extend to other areas of misinformation and pseudoscience.
The study showcases the potential of AI technology, represented by ChatGPT, to play a significant role in dispelling vaccine myths and boosting vaccine uptake. With the ongoing challenge of vaccine hesitancy and the impact of misinformation, innovative tools like AI chatbots hold promise in promoting accurate information and building public trust in vaccines. While AI tools cannot replace human expertise, they can contribute to a more informed and resilient society.