Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can learn from and mimic large amounts of data to create content such as text, images, music, videos, code, and more, based on inputs or prompts.
The university supports and encourages the responsible and secure exploration of AI tools. When using any of these tools, especially public, open-source, non-protected AI tools, it is vitally important to keep information security and data privacy, compliance, copyright, and academic integrity in mind.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
– Oxford Languages
Large Language Models (LLMs)
A specialized type of artificial intelligence (AI) that has been trained on vast amounts of text to understand existing content and generate original content.
Machine Learning (ML)
The use and development of computer systems that are able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from patterns in data.
– Oxford Languages
Natural-Language Processing (NLP)
Involves the ability to turn text or audio speech into encoded, structured information, based on an appropriate ontology. The structured data may be used simply to classify a document, as in “this report describes a laparoscopic cholecystectomy,” or it may be used to identify findings, procedures, medications, allergies and participants.
It is the user’s responsibility to protect sensitive data and verify content when using generative AI tools.
Be Mindful Not to Share Sensitive Information
Do not enter confidential or protected data or information, including non-public research data, into publicly available or vendor-enabled AI tools.
Information shared with public AI tools:
- Is not considered private.
- May be added to the tool’s knowledge base and provided to other users.
- Is usually claimed to be the property of the vendor.
These Tools Can be Inaccurate
Each individual is responsible for any content that is produced or published containing AI-generated material.
- AI tools sometimes “hallucinate,” generating content that can be highly convincing, but inaccurate, misleading, or entirely fabricated.
- It may contain copyrighted material.
- All AI-generated content should be reviewed carefully for correctness and cited properly before submission or publication.
Adhere to Current Academic Integrity Policies
Review university, school, and department handbooks and policies.
- Schools will be developing and updating their policies as we learn more about AI tools.
- Faculty members should teach and advise students about policies on the permitted uses of AI in classes and on academic work.
- Students are encouraged to ask their instructors for clarification about these policies.
- AI may contribute intentional and unintended forms of plagiarism and falsification of data.
Be Alert for AI-Enabled Phishing
AI has made it easier for malicious actors to create sophisticated scams at a far greater scale. Continue to follow security best practices and report suspicious messages via the Phish Report button in Outlook or to email@example.com.
Contact IT When Procuring Generative AI Tools or Adding AI Functionality in Existing Applications
The university is working to ensure that tools procured on behalf of WashU have the appropriate privacy and security protections.
- If you have procured or are considering procuring AI tools, contact WashU IT at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following:
- Data being used
- The product or service to be used
- Compliance with the published guidelines
- Contact information
- In line with university procurement policy for IT hardware and software, vendor generative AI tools must be assessed for risk by WashU’s Office of Information Security prior to use. This includes the following:
- Existing tools that add or expand AI capabilities
- New purchases of vendor AI tools
Citation method is dependent on academic field.
- APA – “How to cite ChatGPT”
- “How do I cite generative AI in MLA style?”
- Chicago Manuel of Style FAQ
- MLA-CCCC Quick Start Guide to AI and Writing
Researchers should check each journal’s specific guidelines and provide proper attribution and transparency in their manuscripts when they use AI in their research (PMID: 36697395).