VALENCIA, Spain—If used ethically, ChatGPT could save time and increase scientific output, according to a presentation by Helena Williams, PhD, from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and King’s College London in the UK, who presented a special lecture entitled “ChatGPT vs humans” at the 20th World Congress in Fetal Medicine.

ChatGPT is a type of regenerative artificial intelligence that can produce open-ended creative content, the use of which in science has been controversial. 

During her presentation, Dr. Williams gave an example of how ChatGPT could be used to create a literature review abstract.

She compared this abstract with an abstract generated by a researcher. The number of studies included in the literature review was similar between the bot and the researchers, but while all the references used by the researcher were relevant, ChatGPT used 16 fabricated references. However, it took ChatGPT only a few minutes to generate the abstract, while it took the researcher 360 hours.

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Dr. Williams then explained how a study team used ChatGPT to simulate an abstract similar to a fetal medicine study on cell-free DNA testing of maternal blood to screen for trisomies in twin pregnancies.

“We defined the title and requirements [of the abstract],” she said, adding that they specified the structure and included the number of pregnancies and case mix for the cohort study and the meta-analysis, classification accuracy for the cohort study, realistic numerical data, and pooled weighed detection rates and false positive rates.

The results showed that both ChatGPT and the researcher had a high detection rate and low false positive rate for trisomy 21. Moreover, ChatGPT also had a high detection rate and low false positive rate for trisomy 18 and 13, the number of cases of which were too small for accurate assessment, according to the researcher. 

Some of the opportunities offered by ChatGPT, Dr. Williams summarized, are the fact that it is accessible and free (for now), that it is fast in generating text, thereby saving time writing, and it is able to provide translation for researchers with limited English language. Its risks are the lack of control over the references used, limited in-depth knowledge, and inconsistency.

The 20th World Congress in Fetal Medicine is being held in Valencia, Spain, June 25-29, 2023.


Williams H. ChatGPT vs humans. Oral presentation at: 20th World Congress in Fetal Medicine; June 25, 2023; Valencia, Spain.