ChatGPT will disrupt verbose, dull and formulaic disciplines like public policy. Professions and academic disciplines that thrive on producing text-heavy reports that sound vaguely analytical and insightful might find their work getting easier with ChatGPT. The chatbot, described as a large language model in its current form is ready to take over lower end of academic and professional production that are currently populated by the average research associates and junior consultants in consulting firms. Waking up to this potential is a matter of developing well designed and well structured tools using OpenAI’s api.
Consider the following responses that ChatGPT throws up. Honestly, these are better responses compared to what most public policy masters students or graduates from India’s top tier universities can offer. I am saying this with a moderate sense of confidence having dipped into several postgraduate classroom as teaching assistant and working in course evaluation as well as with programme development at one of the Indian universities.
The following questions generated clear, relevant and concise responses. The responses can give serious competition to a human output in this discipline.
Sample 1: What does public policy mean?
Sample 2: What does a public policy analyst do?
Sample 3: How is public policy different from law?
Here, ChatGPT is able to understand and highlight the difference with phrases ‘course of action’ and ‘system of rules’. These operative phrases make the response useful. It also throws up the idea that ‘law is often used as a tool for implementing public policy’ is also a useful distinction. For public policy which has been a rather fuzzy discipline that borrows from economics, law, political science and other adjacent fields, these nuances matter. For an AI tool to develop these interconnections is remarkable, in my opinion.
Finally, this question –
Sample 4: What does the phrase ‘policy is the new law’ mean?
The response on ‘policy is the new law’ is outstanding. It exemplifies ChatGPT’s advanced heuristic process. I could not have written it with this clarity.
At the lower end of public policy research and practice, ChatGPT is capable of serious automation. However, I suspect that it will start by human beings using ChatGPT to aid their work and develop deliverables in a high throughput manner. Policy is ripe for AI domination.