How geologists can use ChatGPT to do more geology
Everyone’s talking about ChatGPT. But what does it mean for geologists and how can you make use of this amazing, free technology in making discoveries?
In this article, I’ll explore how ChatGPT can be used in the geology field including its limitations and some practical ideas for how you could use it to streamline aspects of your work so you can stay focused on making your big hit.
Using ChatGPT to do more geology: ideas for geologists
Streamline geological data analysis with ChatGPT
Data analysis is a time-consuming and complex process. Most geologists spend more time wrangling the data than actually analysing it!
This is where AI can help. Because exploration is such a data-intensive activity, it is the perfect candidate for AI assistance.
Geologists can use ChatGPT to automate many of the data transformation and cleaning tasks for better organisation and management of geological data.
Here's an example.
Say you’re looking for gold and you’ve collected data from drill hole logs, geochemical analysis reports, and geophysical survey results. The data is stored in different formats and locations, as follows:
- Drill hole logs: you have collected drill hole logs for 10 drill holes, with each log containing data on the depth of the hole, lithology, and mineralization.
- Geochemical analysis reports: you have compiled geochemical analysis reports from different areas within the project, including stream sediment samples and soil samples. Each report contains data on the concentration of different elements such as gold, silver, and copper.
- Geophysical survey results: you have conducted geophysical surveys in different areas within the project, including magnetic and induced polarisation surveys. Each survey result contains data on the geological structures and mineralization.
To better organise and manage this data, you could ask ChatGPT to analyse the data and categorise it based on various criteria, such as data type, location, and date. This could save you significant time and effort compared to manually searching through large and complex datasets.
You could then use ChatGPT to search for data using select criteria to answer specific questions. For example:
- Create a list of all drill hole logs that intersected with a particular lithology or displayed mineralisation.
- Search for all geochemical analysis reports that contain high concentrations of gold in a particular area.
- Show all of the geophysical survey results that indicate the presence of a particular geological structure or mineralisation.
Enhance your communication with ChatGPT
There are almost an unlimited number of ways that geologists can use ChatGPT to enhance communication within and outside their teams, including with stakeholders and even investors. Here are six ideas you might consider using in your exploration team:
- Create an investor presentation outline:
ChatGPT can analyse large amounts of data and help you to quickly and easily generate an outline for a presentation. To do this properly, you would need to prime ChatGPT by pasting critical reports about the project into the system so that it can analyse the data and suggest an outline and key talking points that highlight your most significant findings and important progress updates.
- Summarise your data:
ChatGPT can help you quickly summarise large datasets in plain English. Managing Directors or Exploration Managers can use this to communicate key findings and insights to investors or stakeholders without a background in geology.
- Simplify technical language:
Geologists often use technical language and jargon that can be difficult for non-technical stakeholders to understand. Sometimes there are even regional differences between geologists themselves (think ‘plod’ vs ‘timesheet’). ChatGPT can simplify technical data and language about a particular mineral deposit and present it in a way that is easy for others to understand.
- Create visual aids:
Did you know that ChatGPT can help you to generate tabular summaries using your data - or step by step instructions on how to create more complex graphs using tools like Excel, R or Python? This could be used by geologists, exploration managers or even managing directors to present data in a clear and concise manner, whether that be for your weekly geo report, monthly activity report or even an investment presentation.
- Translate text:
ChatGPT can even act as a translating service! ChatGPT can translate text from one language to another, provided that it has been trained on the specific language pair. Depending on the training and context, results may vary as some geological terms and concepts may not have direct translations in other languages, which can lead to errors or misunderstandings in the translation output.
- Generate training materials:
Using ChatGPT, it’s possible to create interactive and customised training modules. These could be useful to reinforce and test your graduate geologists’ understanding of different geological concepts. You could even follow the same process to create onboarding procedures, training documentation and more.
Limitations of ChatGPT in a geological context
Garbage in, garbage out
Like most software, the quality of data that is inputted into ChatGPT is critical. If the data is incomplete, inconsistent, or inaccurate, the results generated by ChatGPT will also be unreliable. Great data is key to success when using any software.
Lack of contextual understanding
As I mentioned earlier, exploration is an ideal candidate for AI because of its data-intensive nature. However, AI cannot replicate the interpretation and observation that takes place in addition to the dataset. It also is unlikely to fully understand the broader geological context. So whilst it can help you speed up many manual data processing challenges - by no means can it replace a geologist!
Geologists will still be accountable for any decisions and actions taken based on insights or recommendations generated by ChatGPT.
And whilst it is a revolutionary technology, it is not infallible.
Chat GPT is trained based on the data input into the system. If the data going in is biased, the data coming out will also be biased. Geologists will need to be discerning as to what they put into Chat GPT and how they use it - and be transparent about their use of it.
Furthermore, geologists should also take care when sharing sensitive data with ChatGPT, and be aware of and comply with any policies their employers may have about how data is used.
ChatGPT can be a useful tool for geologists to speed up some of the less exciting aspects of their work like data wrangling.
As a scientific discipline, it’s important to continue to explore new technologies and innovations. ChatGPT is just one of the many tools that we can leverage to achieve our goals. Plus, it’s free. So, why not use it to its full potential (while keeping in mind the limitations and ethical considerations, of course)?
Now let’s go continue to push the boundaries of exploration and discovery!
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CorePlan is a cloud based operations platform that helps people in mining work better together.
Exploration teams at Mining Companies (and Exploration companies) use CorePlan's Exploration Hub to plan, run and manage their drill programs.
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As a modern SaaS platform you are able to easily subscribe and get started in a matter of days.