As exciting as the rush around ChatGPT is, many of us may be (understandably) concerned about the implications that artificial intelligence has for our futures. However, we thought it better to befriend the bot and get to know it before it takes over, and we’re glad we did. We asked it about vaccines, and let the conversation go where it went. We enjoyed it, and hope you find the results interesting.  

What does ChatGPT know about vaccines? 

Our first question for ChatGPT was “what do you know about vaccines” – not something we usually ask in our interviews! Its response was pretty specific and can be neatly summarised in the opening sentence: “Vaccines are biological preparations that provide active acquired immunity to a particular disease”. Alas, this is almost word-for-word the result you get on Wikipedia when you search “vaccine”, so we were a little disappointed.  

Despite this, we persevered, giving ChatGPT an opportunity to express some more ‘original’ opinions. Scroll through to read the rest of our conversation.  

Our conversation continues 
VaccineNation: Sounds great! How do people feel about vaccines? 

ChatGPT: Vaccines are generally considered to be safe and effective and are one of the most successful public health interventions in history. They have led to the eradication of smallpox and have greatly reduced the incidence of other diseases, such as measles, polio, and tetanus. However, some people do have concerns or reservations about vaccines. Some people may have religious or philosophical objections to vaccines, while others may be concerned about potential side effects or the ingredients in vaccines. 

In recent years, there has been a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment and misinformation about vaccines circulating on social media and the internet. Some people believe that vaccines are not effective or that they can cause autism or other health problems, despite a large body of scientific evidence showing that vaccines are safe and effective, and that they do not cause autism. This misinformation has led to a decline in vaccination rates in some areas, which can lead to outbreaks of preventable diseases.

It is important for people to educate themselves about vaccines and to consult with their healthcare provider to make informed decisions about vaccination. It is also important for public health officials and healthcare providers to work to dispel misinformation and to provide accurate information about vaccines to the public. 

VaccineNation: Thank you! How can AI contribute to dispelling misinformation and encouraging vaccine uptake? 

ChatGPT: AI can be used in a variety of ways to help dispel misinformation and encourage vaccine uptake. Some examples include: 

  1. Identifying and flagging misinformation: AI-powered systems can be trained to identify and flag false or misleading information about vaccines on social media and other online platforms. This can help to quickly remove or correct false information before it has a chance to spread widely. 
  2. Providing accurate information: AI-powered chatbots and other systems can be programmed to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccines to the public. These systems can answer common questions about vaccines, provide information about side effects, and help people find local vaccination clinics. 
  3. Personalised messaging: AI can be used to analyse data on individuals’ vaccine attitudes and behaviours to personalise messaging and increase their willingness to get vaccinated. 
  4. Predictive modelling: AI can help predict which individuals or groups are at risk of not getting vaccinated and target interventions to those at highest risk. 
  5. Tracking vaccine hesitancy and misinformation: AI-powered tools can help monitor vaccine hesitancy and misinformation trends, providing public health officials with insights to develop interventions to address these issues. 

Overall, AI can be a powerful tool in the fight against misinformation and in increasing vaccine uptake, by providing accurate information, personalising messaging, and identifying and targeting individuals and groups at highest risk. 

VaccineNation: That sounds like a lot of work! Thank you. 

ChatGPT: You’re welcome! It is a lot of work, but it can be incredibly important in ensuring that people have accurate information about vaccines and that they are able to make informed decisions about vaccination. It’s also important to note that AI is only a tool and has to be used in conjunction with other strategies such as educating the public and healthcare professionals, working with social media platforms to remove misinformation and providing support to communities at risk. Thank you for the opportunity to share my knowledge on this topic. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. 

Our thoughts on the matter 

If you haven’t had a chance to chat with ChatGPT, we highly recommend it. In particular, it is encouraging to note its sensitivity to the causes of vaccine hesitancy and its awareness of misinformation. Furthermore, when we asked what AI should be doing to moderate or monitor misinformation, we were pleasantly surprised to be presented with clear suggestions. Do you think it left anything out? What do you hope AI can contribute to the vaccine scene? 

For further futuristic insights stay tuned, as we are bound to return to ChatGPT with more questions. 

 If you are interested in learning more about the role that automation and AI can play in vaccine development, come to the World Vaccine Congress in Washington and join the conversation.