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Caritas – our universal call to love, holiness and vocation

What Does Love Have to Do with AI?

What Does Love Have to Do with AI?

Emily A. DeMoor, Ph.D.

              What do you think of when you hear the word “caritas”?  Caritas is a Latin word for “charity” or “love” – not just any kind of love, but the kind of love with which God loves us.  So what does love have to do with AI?  The work of the Brescia University Caritas Center is grounded in guiding questions that relate to the themes of identity, knowledge and action:  Who am I as someone who is loved and called to love?  Who are we as people who are loved and called to love?  What do we need to know as people called to love?  What do we need to do as people called to love?  As we consider the many wonderful ways that AI can be used to enhance education, I invite you to also consider AI from an ethical perspective, so that our use of AI is aligned with the virtue of caritas.

              In May 2023 the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University provided “Guidelines for the Ethical Use of Generative AI.”  In these guidelines they state, “As students seeking an education, arguably one of the most important aspects is the practice of finding our moral compass and applying our education to real-world contexts so that we can contribute to society in productive ways that support the common good.”

The Center provides 4 general questions for a student trying to decide whether to have ChatGPT write a paper for him or her – questions that directly relate to the caritas theme of action:

  • What is at stake in this decision?
  • Is there anyone who will be affected by this decision, directly or indirectly?
  • Are there duties or obligations to adhere to?
  • What biases are built into ChatGPT?

They then make suggestions for the ethical use of ChatGPT:

  1. NEVER directly copy any words used by ChatGPT or any generative AI.
  2. Always be wary of the blatant biases that generative AI’s may harbor.
  3. Do not rely on ChatGPT for accurate information; utilize a variety of reliable sources when researching important topics.
  4. Treat ChatGPT as an additional learning tool, not a vehicle to avoid honestly completing academic work.
  5. Whenever using ChatGPT be sure to double check all information against other sources to ensure accuracy.
  6. Be specific and concise when interacting with ChatGPT as its responses will only be as strong as the prompts.
  7. Before using ChatGPT, remember your own capabilities and the value gained through problem-solving.  
  8. Before you use ChatGPT, ask yourself if your professor would approve of the way you are using it, and if you consider it to follow academic integrity.

Looking from a virtue perspective, the Center then provides seven additional questions:

  • What kind of person will I become if I do this?
  • “Is this action consistent with my acting at my best?
  • Does using ChatGPT contribute to the common good?
  • If I use ChatGPT to help in this case, what other shortcuts would I use?
  • Am I cheating myself of the opportunity to learn in other ways?
  • Am I being the very best person I can be?
  • Does using ChatGPT take away the value I would gain from problem-solving?

These questions are right in line with our vision at Brescia as we seek to become people of caritas who seek to contribute to the common good, as articulated in Catholic social teaching and other religious and ethical traditions.  All of us – students, faculty and staff alike – are learning to navigate these new waters of AI together.  As we do so, let us gently call each other to remember who we are and who we want to be.

Works Cited

University, Santa Clara. “Guidelines for the Ethical Use of Generative AI (I.e. ChatGPT) on Campus.”, May 2023,