The artificial intelligence revolution is well underway with the release of ChatGPT-4
and other large-language AI models like Google’s Bard.
Large-language AI acts like a Wikipedia chatbot, drawing from information available
on the internet in answering a user’s prompts or questions. It calculates probabilities
of words occurring together and generates output in a conversational style that simulates
ChatGPT-4 has abilities that far exceed what has previously been possible with AI.
It can pass law and medical school exams, take on a user-specified style and tone
in its responses, craft customer service emails, write well-supported position papers,
and provide virtually any kind of recommendation, from house paint suggestions to
business marketing strategies.
Is AI Good for Society?
In response to the power of this technology, there is an increasing urgency to clarify
the precautions and regulations necessary to make it safe.
There are worries about how AI could disseminate propaganda, propagate bias, replace
humans in the workplace, develop unintended harmful capabilities, and work in direct
opposition to human interests. A letter calling for a six-month AI development pause to properly assess and mitigate those
risks has gained over 30,000 signatures, including those of top tech company leaders
like Elon Musk.
While there is increasing emphasis on making sure AI does not become misaligned with
human interests, this technology also has the potential to have positive effects for
individuals, communities, and society as a whole.
In this regard, positive psychology, the study of human flourishing, can serve as
a valuable guide for AI applications that help human beings thrive.
“The most obvious benefit of AI is that it can be used to streamline organizational
processes that would ordinarily require relatively slow and inefficient human effort,”
Della Porta notes.
AI-assisted tasks can make workers more productive and increase their free time to
focus on what matters most to them. According to research from Stanford and MIT, AI tools like ChatGPT increased worker productivity at one company by 14%. It enhanced
customer satisfaction, reduced requests for managers to intervene, and improved employee
Consultants with positive psychology backgrounds could evaluate workflow stress points
unique to an organization and subsequently identify where the use of AI could reduce
task-related stressors or inefficiencies. This could be done with the goal of not
eliminating jobs, but enhancing them.
Guided by positive psychology experts, ChatGPT could also help managers and human
resource professionals directly address workplace wellness. For example, after gathering
needs assessment data, positive psychology consultants could use AI collaboratively
with a management team in generating ideas for wellness interventions that include
gratitude, kindness, or fun activities.
Strengths-based interventions show particular promise in this regard.
“In our class, Building Positive Institutions and Systems, we learn about the advantages of individuals within organizations using their strengths
to complete their work tasks,” Della Porta says.
ChatGPT could serve as a platform for workers to explore their strengths and utilize
them more actively. The VIA character strengths survey is one widely known empirically supported approach to personal strengths identification.
One could see a future where AI is integrated into VIA survey results, guiding users
in creating action plans for activating their strengths across different job roles.
AI may be the key to more positive management styles as well.
An AI model could be programmed to assist managers in tracking employee achievement,
providing reminders for recognition and specific positive feedback. AI could also
support job crafting exercises that guide employees in creating more enjoyable and
meaningful projects based on self-reflection.
MAPP Program and AI
In the coming year, faculty in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program at
PCOM will be helping students consider the well-being implications of positive psychology
and AI. The MAPP program is committed to innovative application in the field of human
flourishing that is responsive to new developments like large-language AI, which can
reshape how we live, work, and relate to each other in positive ways.