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AI Chat GPT in Voyage Planning Raises Safety Concerns Among Ship Captains
By Sea and Coast | 16/03/2023
A ship captain has reported concerns that an AI bot, potentially ChatGPT, was utilized by their shipowner to provide recommendations for modifications to their ship's voyage plan. While the captain did not follow the AI-generated recommendations, they are worried that others may not exercise the same caution. gCaptain has obtained the report, but the captain's anonymity request has limited their ability to provide details.
During the voyage planning process, the captain had emailed the shipowner with concerns about minor safety issues related to the ship's route and cargo. The shipowner's response contained advice that would have required a course change during the voyage and appeared to be written by an AI, according to the captain. While it's difficult to prove that the message was created by an AI, its style is similar to that produced by AI.
When asked, ChatGPT-4, an AI language model, responded that it's not designed or certified to provide advice on safety-critical operations like ship voyage planning. It's important that any AI-generated advice or suggestions be carefully assessed and verified by qualified human experts before implementation, especially in safety-critical domains.
Although AI has the potential to discover hazards and opportunities for risk mitigation in voyage planning, the use of AI in such critical operations requires discussion and guidance from organizations such as IMO, USCG, and INTERTANKO. In the meantime, shipping companies could simply be more transparent and notify the captain of any messages sent to a ship including the help of AI.