The Intersection of AI and Social Work

Editor's Note

By Laetitia Clayton

“In recent years, the world has witnessed a rapid advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, with its transformative potential impacting various sectors. One area where the fusion of AI and human-centric professions is gaining significant attention is social work. As the role of technology continues to evolve, it is crucial to explore how AI can enhance and augment the field of social work, while also acknowledging the ethical considerations and potential challenges it presents.

AI has the potential to revolutionize social work practice by providing valuable tools and insights that can aid in decision-making, resource allocation, and service provision. Machine learning algorithms can analyze large datasets, identifying patterns and trends that humans might overlook, leading to more targeted and effective interventions. AI-powered predictive models can help social workers identify individuals and communities at risk, enabling early intervention and prevention strategies.

However, as we embrace the potential benefits of AI in social work, it is essential to navigate the ethical considerations that arise. Ensuring fairness, transparency, and accountability in algorithmic decision-making becomes imperative. Social workers must remain vigilant in addressing biases that may be present in the data used to train AI systems, which could perpetuate existing inequalities.”

Laetitia Clayton

Disclosure: All of the above, including the headline, was written by the AI tool ChatGPT after I asked it to write an editor’s note about AI and social work — and this is only half of what it wrote.

It produced this in about one minute. Is this pretty accurate? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Is it also a little scary? Yes again. One thing for certain is that AI is moving ahead at warp speed. ChatGPT is only one tool in the AI tool box, but it provides a glimpse into what is possible. Read what social work experts have to say about the pros and cons of AI — ChatGPT specifically — and social work in our cover story.

This issue’s feature article is about library social work, a growing area of the profession that provides a way for social workers to continue to meet people where they are. Library social work is about “creating connections with folks from all different walks of life,” says Brianne Hanson, manager of the social work program at the Denver Public Library in Colorado — one of the first libraries in the nation to implement such a program.

In the Association News section, you can read about NASW’s actions to fight discriminatory legislation affecting the LGBTQIA+ community; our 2023 Leadership Summit on June 22; clinical practice updates and webinars; a new student scholarship funded by longtime NASW member Lawanna Barron; and much more.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Social Work Advocates, and we welcome your feedback at

Until next time,

cover of June / July 2023 issue

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