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Revolutionizing Sexual Consent Education: How ChatGPT Could

Chat GPT's Verbal Consent Examples

In today’s digital age, education is rapidly evolving to incorporate innovative technologies that enhance learning. One such technological advancement is the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence language models, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a highly versatile, and convenient tool, with some claiming that it may have PhD-level intelligence in the coming years. In a previous blog, we wrote about how AI can be used for sexual and relationship advice. In this blog, we will review a recent article published in the Journal of Sex Research that explored what ChatGPT “knows” about sexual consent and how AI could be utilized as a powerful tool in sexual consent education.

Discussing consent can sometimes be challenging, especially for young people who may feel uncomfortable or unsure about how to navigate these conversations and may not want to share their experiences or questions with others. Asking questions about consent could be particularly challenging in classroom settings where students are often surrounded by their peers and their teachers This is where ChatGPT can play a transformative role. By providing a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to explore and learn about sexual consent without fear of embarrassment, ChatGPT can help users to learn about sexual consent and empower them to communicate their boundaries clearly and confidently with their partners. In their article, “Hey ChatGPT, Let’s Talk About Sexual Consent,” Marcantonio and colleagues studied the potential applications of the world’s most popular AI tool for teaching us about consent.

What Does ChatGPT Know About Sexual Consent?

What is Sexual Consent?

The researchers asked ChatGPT a series of questions about sexual consent, covering topics from defining consent to addressing communication under the influence of alcohol or cannabis. ChatGPT’s responses largely mirrored the key elements identified in academic research and sexual education. Specifically, it emphasized that consent must be clearly and enthusiastically agreed upon by everyone involved, actively and freely given, and can be withdrawn at any time. Moreover, ChatGPT highlighted that sex without consent constitutes sexual assault.

Verbal and Non-verbal Consent Cues

The AI tool also reported that consent could be communicated both verbally and non-verbally, aligning with existing research. It stressed that consent cues should be clear and unambiguous. While ChatGPT acknowledged that non-verbal behaviours can be used to communicate consent, it also recognized the potential for misinterpretation. Therefore, it suggested that individuals accompany non-verbal cues with direct communication. Notably, the AI provided specific examples of both non-verbal and verbal cues to indicate consent or lack thereof, such as, “Is it okay if I touch you here?”

The Influence of Drugs and Alcohol on Sexual Consent 

Consistent with research and sexual education initiatives, ChatGPT emphasized that drugs and alcohol can impair decision-making, thereby affecting an individual’s ability to give consent to sexual activity. It suggested that individuals avoid engaging in sexual activity while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many organizations, such as RAINN, have stated that consent cannot be communicated by individuals who are intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs and/or alcohol.

How Can AI be Used in Sexual Consent Education?

The authors of the article suggested several ways in which AI could be beneficial in sexual consent education, such as:

  1. Instructors using AI to generate current information for lessons and activities since AI generates responses based on large databases of information.
  2. Students engaging with ChatGPT to ask questions about sexual health that they may otherwise be uncomfortable asking in a public setting.

The authors also noted that ChatGPT could be advantageous in providing specific examples of consent behaviours. While there is a lot of information about sexual consent available, it can be harder to find concrete examples that individuals could use in their sexual lives. So to further test the capabilities of this tool, I asked ChatGPT if it could provide some examples of verbal consent. I appreciated that it not only provided many examples but also broke these down into meaningful sections for the reader (see below). Would you use any of these examples?

The authors cautioned that ChatGPT does have some limitations, including the inability to reference evidence-based articles in its responses, occasional inconsistency in answers to similar questions, and the potential for some responses to not be based on scientific literature. Additionally, they noted that given AI’s algorithmic base, responses might lack inclusivity and diversity criteria. The authors concluded that, “just because ChatGPT is being informed by multiple databases, does not mean that the answers it provides are the right answer—they are just an answer.”

With all of that said, AI has the potential to enhance understanding and foster a safe space for individuals to ask questions and learn about consent. Coupled with education about informed decision-making and critical thinking regarding the consumption of information, AI can help to support and enhance this critical aspect of sexual health education.

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This blog was co-written using ChatGPT (2024)

Image made using Canva

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