Volume 38 Number 1 | February 2024

Cara Bushmaker, MLS(ASCP), ASCLS Today Volunteer Contributor

Cara BushmakerAre you familiar with ChatGPT? I admit I know very little, but since my last encounter, I’ve been inspired to do a little more research. I’ve been aware of artificial intelligence (AI) to various degrees for quite some time. Many advancements have excited me due to their potential safety and test utilization opportunities in healthcare. The idea of a model that interacts conversationally, however, was not on my radar. A system that can not only answer but ask follow-up questions, challenge incorrect premises, or reject certain requests … that’s different than anything I had imagined.

AI started its developmental phase following WWII, and the beginnings are largely attributed to Alan Turing’s initial work. The movie based on Alan Turing’s biography, The Imitation Game, also brought the history behind AI to all of us non-computer science types. Turing’s work, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” was published in 1950 and led to the “Turing Test” used as a guideline to distinguish if man or machine was doing the problem solving. In its infancy, it was a one-sided test with room for deviations, but it served as a jumping off point for this research. Research exploded and is utilized in our everyday lives more than we may be aware.

Present day, AI has been implemented in self-driving cars, computer games, healthcare diagnostics (which we already knew) and telemedicine, call centers and automated 24/7 answering services, and much more. These everyday things moved into my life quietly and with little consequence until the news blew up of cheating scandals in schools and colleges around the country. It was a topic in many circles, and it also came up at the ASCLS Region VIII Leadership Academy. We decided, being the scientific minded group we are, to do a bit of our own research. We discussed the scope of ChatGPT and its various uses and misuses. We all related that certainly ASCLS would be the ultimate test. The “Behind the Scenes” profession with extraordinarily little limelight. So, we asked ChatGPT to create a poem describing ASCLS, which is included here.

The spotlight on ChatGPT is quite amazing and growing, but I must wonder, with all this push for artificial intelligence to solve and screen out the “human error,” will we also remove the human voice? We are all essentially flawed beings, and as a result we are all unique. The counterpoint is we are all incredibly perfect because of our flaws. This diversity is what leads to mistakes, miscommunication, conflict but it also leads to amazing connections, art, learning, and I assume satisfaction.

A life mapped out by artificial intelligence makes me hesitant. It is already so engrained in our everyday lives that maybe my hesitance is futile. While I will continue to experiment and learn, as a good scientist does, I see the fun and beauty in it, too. I know I will always value the everyday human connections and the conflict that life presents. But maybe, just maybe, I need to be comfortable with a little mix of both. So, I leave it with … you’re quirky ChatGPT, you’re real quirky.

Cara Bushmaker is the Laboratory Manager at Bitterroot Health Laboratory in Hamilton, Montana.

In labs of science, bright and keen,
Where knowledge blooms, where minds convene,
ASCLS, an organization’s name,
In this poem, we’ll sing your fame.

With beakers, microscopes, and slides,
You journey where discovery resides,
A beacon in the world of healthcare,
ASCLS, we declare, you truly care.

From the hematology to serology,
You bring forth knowledge, pure and free,
With dedication, you do strive,
To improve lives and make us thrive.

In every test tube and PCR,
You show us all how great you are,
With passion and precision true,
ASCLS, we honor you.

A symphony of lab coats, so white,
Guided by your shining light,
Together, you stand strong and tall,
Answering science’s noble call.

With ethics, honor, and integrity,
ASCLS, you set the decree,
To serve with hearts both kind and wise,
In laboratories where answers arise.

In every sample that you explore,
In every diagnosis, you help restore,
The health of countless lives each day,
ASCLS, we salute your way.

So here’s to ASCLS, a radiant star,
Guiding us through science, near and far,
In the realm of laboratories, you shine bright,
A beacon of knowledge, pure and right.

In the world of science, you take your place,
With grace, you lead us in the chase,
To understand, to heal, to mend,
ASCLS, you’re a true lab’s friend.

– Written by ChatGPT at the request of Region VIII Leadership Academy and Faculty 2023