How to work with AI

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) won’t take your job, economist Richard Baldwin told the World Economic Forum’s Growth Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, recently, but his next sentence wasn’t so reassuring – it’s somebody using AI who will take your job. He’s right, of course, at least for the time being. Now that generative AI, such as ChatGPT, can perform many intellectual tasks to a considerable level of speed and competency, it is no wonder that human jobs are considered at risk.

However, AI is not infallible – just ask lawyer Peter LoDuca, who learned this the hard way when he was representing a client who was suing Avianca Airlines in a New York federal court, claiming injuries from being hit by a cart during a 2019 flight.

LoDuca decided to use ChatGPT to help him with his legal research and ended up citing eight prior cases, all of which were fabricated by the software. This ended up being not only embarrassing, but also highly damaging for the case.

This phenomenon, in which generative AI produces what appears to be factual and relevant information that is totally confabulated, is known as “hallucination”. AI researchers are still working on eliminating this.

So, how can we use AI to extend and enhance our capabilities, while ensuring that we do not fall prey to its shortcomings? Here are some suggestions:

> Know yourself

In the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) age of AI, it is an existential necessity to differentiate human output from a machine’s, while remaining anchored and motivated. For us to add authentic value, we need to know who we are, what our purpose is, and how we wish to mobilise this purpose to make a positive impact on the world.

> Don’t share private or confidential information

Sharing privileged information related to your business or that of your clients with the generative AI can be considered a serious misconduct as all your input will become part of the system’s training content.

> Provide effective prompts

When using generative AI to help you with work projects or school assignments, it is important to be as clear, direct and specific as possible.

It helps to provide the context and constraints of your enquiry, and to give examples of what you wish to receive. Using complete sentences and breaking down complex issues will aid AI in providing you with a more coherent answer.

> Fact-check

No matter how convincing the AI output is, check the produced content before sharing or using it as a basis for decision-making. Remember, AI can hallucinate.

> Do not copy and paste

You should use AI to inspire rather than replace you. Rewrite what you wish to adopt using your own words.

> Be transparent

If some work, or part thereof, is entirely produced by AI, mention that clearly to those assessing or using your work. They will appreciate your professionalism.

> Provide value

Whether you’re a student being graded for your work or an employee being compensated, your teacher or supervisor would want to see that you’re contributing value that is distinctive from what AI is capable of.

> Use polite language

The language we adopt when using AI will be used to train the system and we want the system to be trained positively. It is also nice to keep the “conversation” professional when providing prompts.

> Stay out of harm’s way

Avoid using the AI to create content that is inappropriate, harmful or offensive even if you are just experimenting. Our actions have legal and moral implications.

> Be proud of your work

If the work you are producing is delivered without any help from AI, write a declaration indicating that the work is done entirely by a human without the use of AI.

Our journey with AI is in its infancy, and the topic of working safely and effectively with this powerful new tool will continue to evolve. It pays to stay informed, as new guidelines are being developed and made available, but the suggestions above are a good place to start, at least for now.


Provost and chief executive officer

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia;


Vice Chancellors’ Council for Private Universities

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AI , HWUM , education , ChatGPT , jobless


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