Generative AI Guidance

How to Pick a GenAI Tool for Your Work

The GenAI field is constantly evolving and improving, with new tools and features being launched every few days. Therefore, knowing what to look for in these tools is essential. When considering tools outside of what the College offers, be mindful of the following when choosing a tool for your needs:

Privacy risks:

Be aware that in most cases, the data you share is not private and will be available by external parties hosting the GenAI-based tools. Do not share information that is private, or sensitive, such as credit card information, personal details such as ID numbers or addresses, and so on.

Hidden costs:

Be careful with tools that are ‘free-to-start’ or offer a more premium option with better functionality. Avoid tools that require a credit card start a free trial, as they may use tactics that make it harder to then cancel the subscription.

Learn to use:

Learn how to use tools like ChatGPT better, through resources such as: 650+ Best Prompts for ChatGPT (Ultimate List for 2023) The 100 Best ChatGPT Prompts to Power Your Workflow

Understand limitations:

Understand what GenAI-based tools can or cannot do. GenAI might seem like a conscious being in a conversation or application, but they are simply very large predictive models that infer from a huge dataset. Learn about the limitations of these models: 13 ChatGPT Limitations That You Need To Know, What Are the Limitations of ChatGPT?

Use reputable resources:

Current companies in the field have a variety of products such as: OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E Google’s Bard and upcoming Duet AI Microsoft’s Bing AI and Microsoft 365 Copilot. As a good rule of thumb, always use safe computing practices.

Some things to keep in mind as you use GenAI-based tools in your daily life are:

GenAI is not conscious:

GenAI models or Large Language models (LLMs) might seem to have consciousness or self-awareness like a human, but are just systems trained on large and biased datasets. LLMs are designed to output the most probable, or most common results based on their data, and will often tend to ignore less probable or marginalized information.

GenAI is biased:

GenAI models have implicit biases in them that make them unsuitable for ethical reasoning and decision making and should not be used in those situations. Moreover, they draw on data from the past, which results in a lack of context for current social changes.

GenAI can deceive:

GenAI in its current stage will tend to ‘fabricate’ or make up random data that is not true. Models have no real sense of what is true or false. These models are built to output what is most likely in a verbose way, even if there might not be enough real information to support it.

Questions to ask yourself:

GenAI is a revolutionary tool that can transform higher education and beyond, but it is important to understand your purpose and how to use these new, powerful tools. Here are some questions to consider, but remember that every person will answer differently.

•How does using a GenAI-based tool help me learn more and think better?

•How does using a GenAI-based tool affect my ability to do my job well?

•How do I ensure the accuracy and validity of the content I generate?

•How do I deal with content that might have been generated using a GenAI-based tool?

•How can my use of a GenAI-based tool contribute to the greater good of society?


Using GenAI-based tools can give you the opportunity to improve not only yourself, but also society as a whole, and there is an ethical responsibility towards doing so.

Examples of Generative AI Based Tools

Some free-to-use tools that exist in the GenAI space are listed below. This is not a complete list. Be mindful that these are not recommended by IECC.

ChatGPT uses one of the largest (known) datasets to power its operation. Its current version is GPT-4 and it seems to be capable of a variety of complex tasks. The base model does not have internet connectivity, although that has changed with plugins that now give some online functionality. Note that plugins require a paid subscription to use.

Tools that can search the Internet:

Bing AI uses ChatGPT in the backend to allow for a more conversational way to search the Internet. Google Bard is Google’s chatbot, similar to ChatGPT, with the added ability to be connected to the Internet and retrieve more current information.

These are tools that are free for individual use:

Explainpaper lets users upload a paper, highlight confusing text, and provides an explanation.

Goblin Tools is a collection of small, simple, single-task tools, mostly designed to help neurodivergent people with tasks they find overwhelming or difficult.

Codeium is a code completion and assistance tool that can help coders with their code and improve efficiency.

Many repositories for GenAI tools such as Futurepedia, Future Tools, and Supertools also exist to search for tools as they proliferate further.