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Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, AFC®
Martie Gillen, Ph.D., MBA, AFC®, CFLE

Since launching in November 2022, ChatGPT has become the fastest technology tool to reach 100 million users…ever. Some are calling it “the next transformational platform.” 

Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) may field questions about ChatGPT or consider its use in their work. Below are five key things to know about this ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) tool:

  1. ChatGPT Description– ChatGPT is “a very smart text-based robot” that can answer questions and have conversations with users. GPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer,” which means it creates (generates) new content after being trained on a massive data set of text scoured from websites, books, articles, and other sources. ChatGPT is owned by OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft and other investors.
  2. ChatGPT Capabilities– ChatGPT is much more sophisticated than pop-up chatbots that are trained to assist customers on company websites. It is capable of providing detailed responses and articulate answers on a wide variety of topics. It also gets better with feedback provided by users. Tens of billions of dollars are being spent to enhance its capabilities. A new career, prompt engineer, is being created to interface with ChatGPT.
  3. Chat GPT Content– ChatGPT output is not plagiarism or “cutting and pasting,” but it is not a user’s original work either. This may need to be acknowledged in publications. In addition, it is very fast, much faster than using an online search engine and searching through the top entries. Users can type commands like “explain [topic] to a ten-year-old” to get simple explanations and set word limits for responses to questions.
  4. ChatGPT Concerns– Teachers are concerned about students using ChatGPT to cheat on take-home exams and papers and content creators are concerned that ChatGPT could replace them. It is also important to acknowledge that ChatGPT makes mistakes because some of the information that it is taught may be faulty. Therefore, ChatGPT output should only be considered a “first draft,” subject to review by a subject matter expert.
  5. Financial Education Uses– Financial educators have already started to embrace ChatGPT as a new teaching tool. Below are some suggested educational uses:
  • Ask learners to find inaccuracies in ChatGPT output
  • Create question-and-answer quizzes on personal finance topics
  • Create discussion questions for a topic or publication
  • Create talking points for “this or that” debates (e.g., active vs. passive investing? Saving, or repaying debt?)
  • Change the reading level of an article quickly
  • Create book and article summaries
  • Create rap songs and poems about financial topics
  • Create rubrics for grading, awards, and publications/presentations
  • Write recommendation letters for colleagues or students

In summary, ChatGPT is new, exciting, and a work in progress. Financial educators who embrace it as “leveraging resources” vs. “cheating” will likely be pleased with the results.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels