Though artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for quite some time, it’s only recently that scientists have begun to incorporate it into their research. It’s also become more commonplace to encounter AI in diagnostics, pathology, and pharmaceuticals, where machine learning and artificial neural networks have been investigated for their ability to readily identify specimens and new chemical compounds that better target specific molecular pathways.
Recently, a new chatbot, ChatGPT, has taken over headlines across the world. Likely one of the most advanced large language models (LLMs) ever, its linguistic skills are incredibly refined, providing highly understandable answers to nearly any question. ChatGPT is also easily accessible, and with so much information available at the press of a button, scientists are clamoring to find new ways to utilize it to benefit their research.
To publish or not to publish?
In science, the main controversy has been the use of ChatGPT in scientific articles. Several authors have cited ChatGPT as an author on a paper, claiming that it’s helped write the manuscript and contribute to the research. Two of these articles used ChatGPT as a medical education tool, which would appear to be the ideal space for this type of AI, especially with its apparently boundless ability to look up and contextualize scientific research from the internet. However, ideological problems have arisen because ChatGPT is specifically listed as a co-author on the papers; some say that attribution of authorship to a manuscript carries accountability for the research, which is fundamentally impossible for a piece of software. Plagiarism also has to be accounted for, as it may be impossible to discern the sources from which ChatGPT gleans its information, while others have put the credibility of ChatGPT into question, as it doesn’t necessarily provide factual statements every time, sometimes giving completely different answers when asked the same question several times in a row.1
What does ChatGPT say about laboratory identification?
To see how it would fare with sample identification, we asked it a few specific questions about labels, LIMS, and printers. Needless to say, it looks like ChatGPT is on to something.
First, it was asked, “What is the best way to identify samples in biological laboratories?”
ChatGPT: The best way to identify samples in biological laboratories is to use a standardized and unique system for labeling and tracking. Here are some tips to help with sample identification:
- Use a unique identifier: Each sample should have a unique identifier, such as a barcode, QR code, or alphanumeric code, that is easy to read and interpret. The identifier should be linked to a database that contains information about the sample, such as the date collected, the source, and any treatments or manipulations that have been performed.
- Label clearly and consistently: The label should be affixed to the sample container in a prominent location and should be easy to read. Use a permanent marker or label printer to ensure that the label will not smudge or fade over time. Labels should be consistent across all samples, with the same information in the same order.
- Use color coding: Color coding can be a useful way to quickly identify different types of samples, for example, by using different color caps or labels for different sample types.
- Document everything: It is important to keep detailed records of all samples, including the date collected, the source, and any manipulations or treatments that have been performed. These records should be linked to the unique identifier for each sample.
- Regularly check and update the database: The database should be regularly checked and updated to ensure that all samples are accounted for and that the information is up-to-date. This will help to prevent mistakes and ensure that the samples are used appropriately.
Next, we asked, “What kind of printer yields the most resistant printouts against extreme temperatures and chemical exposure?”
ChatGPT: When it comes to printing labels or tags that are resistant to extreme temperatures and chemical exposure, thermal transfer printers are often considered the best option.
Thermal-transfer printing is a digital printing process in which a heated print head melts a ribbon onto a label material, creating a permanent, durable printout. The ribbon is usually made of wax, resin, or a combination of the two, and can provide excellent resistance to heat, chemicals, and abrasion.
However, not all thermal-transfer printers are created equal, and some may perform better than others when it comes to resistance to extreme temperatures and chemical exposure. Some factors to consider when choosing a thermal transfer printer for these applications include:
- Quality of print head: A high-quality print head is essential for producing clear and durable printouts that can withstand harsh environments. Look for a print head that is made of high-quality materials and is designed to last.
- Ribbon compatibility: The type of ribbon used in thermal transfer printing can have a significant impact on the durability of the printout. Choose a printer that is compatible with a wide range of ribbon types, including those specifically designed for extreme temperatures and chemical exposure.
- Printer construction: Look for a printer that is built to withstand harsh environments, with a sturdy, durable construction that can withstand extreme temperatures and exposure to chemicals.
- Maintenance and support: Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring that your printer continues to produce high-quality, durable printouts over time. Choose a printer that comes with a comprehensive support and maintenance program to ensure that you get the most out of your investment.
Overall, thermal-transfer printers with high-quality print heads, ribbon compatibility, durable construction, and good maintenance and support programs are likely to produce the most resistant printouts against extreme temperatures and chemical exposure.
While there may be controversy about using ChatGPT as a co-author in research, it sure does a respectable job of providing information about labels!
LabTAG by GA International is a leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty labels and a supplier of identification solutions used in research and medical labs as well as healthcare institutions.
- Stokel-Walker C. ChatGPT listed as author on research papers: many scientists disapprove. Nature. 2023;613:620-621.