Training Tips for Ships: Is it ‘Real’ or is it …

February 14, 2023

Copyright Brian/AdobeStock
Copyright Brian/AdobeStock

We’ve all been hearing so incredibly much about ChatGPT - its abilities, limitations, potential, promise and risks. So, let’s talk about it as it relates to maritime training.

ChatGPT is an application developed by OpenAI that can generate human-like text. It uses deep learning algorithms to understand and generate text and can be fine-tuned to specific tasks such as language translation, question answering, and text summarization. It can be used to generate a wide variety of text-based content, including articles, stories, and instructional materials.

What does this mean for training content? ChatGPT could potentially be used to generate training content for maritime workers by using its natural language generation capabilities to create written materials such as instructional manuals, procedures, and quizzes. The model can also generate spoken language by using text-to-speech technology to create audio training modules. The training content can be tailored to the specific needs of individual maritime workers, such as safety procedures for a particular type of vessel or information about the proper operation of specific equipment. Additionally, ChatGPT can be used to generate answers to frequently asked questions and possibly even generate simulations to test the workers’ understanding of the material covered in the training.

There are many potential advantages to using ChatGPT to generate maritime training content. The first is speed. ChatGPT can quickly generate large amounts of training content, allowing for efficient creation of training materials. Also, ChatGPT can be fine-tuned to the specific needs of the maritime workers and the types of vessels they operate, generating content that is relevant and specific to their job. 

It generates a consistent level of detail, format, and quality of training materials, which can be critical for safety training. ChatGPT can also be used to generate content in multiple languages, which can be beneficial for training workers who speak different languages. It clearly can also do this much more cost effectively than hiring a team of writers or trainers.

But there are potential downsides as well. One is that the language model may not have a deep understanding of maritime operations and may produce inaccurate or misleading information. Additionally, the model may not be able to fully understand and incorporate the nuances and complexities of human communication, which could lead to confusion or misinterpretation among trainees. Finally, the model is based on patterns in the text it has been trained on, and therefore it may generate content that is offensive, biased or inappropriate.

There is so much more to discuss on this topic. Of course, one of the most interesting and telling experiments would be to try generating some training content using ChatGPT. You can look forward to this in the upcoming edition of Training Tips for Ships. 

But until then, if you consider yourself a skeptic in terms of the ability of ChatGPT to write reasonable content, consider the following: the text above this paragraph was written by ChatGPT, not by me. I simply asked it a few questions and pasted the answers above, for you. Instead of spending my usual 4+ hours writing this article, the total task took me about 30 minutes. Half to formulate the questions for ChatGPT, and half to make a few small edits. 

Whatever your view on this, make no mistake. Bob was never more correct than now - the times they are a-changin’.

Until next time, thank you for reading and sail safely!

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