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Anuja Thapa asks: What does ChatGPT mean for students and instructors?

Student Life

By Anuja Thapa

If you are a university student, chances are you’ve heard of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) bot that can generate jokes and essays, solve science and math problems, and produce codes in response to the questions posted by the user.

Ubiquitous app

In January 2023, a mere two months after its release, ChatGPT reached 100 million users, making it the fastest-growing application to reach the milestone.

ChatGPT is unlike any other AI chatbot, due to the speed as well as the distinctiveness of its responses.

The company was cofounded by Elon Musk, who has stepped down from the company.

OpenAI is now in a multi-billion partnership with Microsoft, and the company’s mission is to “ensure that artificial general intelligence—AI systems that are generally smarter than humans—benefits all of humanity.”

As impressive as the chatbot is, it has raised questions surrounding academic dishonesty and misconduct, as well as misinformation.

And what it means for higher education.

Some advantages

On one hand, the rise of AI allows students and staff alike to conduct research.

More importantly, it allows students to engage in learning and allows them to learn on their own if they are facing difficulties in class.

“The rise of ChatGPT has raised alarms among some educators who believe that its use constitutes academic misconduct.”

ChatGPT also allows students to edit their work and improve the accuracy of their writing by providing rewriting features and writing support.

However, the rise of ChatGPT has raised alarms among some educators who believe that its use constitutes academic misconduct, and on some levels, even plagiarism.

Institutions are rightly worried that students will pass off essays or solutions to problems written by the chatbot as their own.

Interestingly, according to a recent survey conducted, 51 per cent of college students believe that using artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT to complete assignments and exams is cheating.

While OpenAI’s policies ban the use of their technology for use of dishonesty or misinformation, some experts have feared that ChatGPT could be used to pedal conspiracy theories.

Researchers at NewsGuard, a company that tackles misinformation, asked ChatGPT to write a paragraph from the point of view of an anti-vaccine doctor and the chatbot produced responses that included untrue statements and also quoted fake scientific studies.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/08/technology/ai-chatbots-disinformation.html

There is already a plethora of misinformation floating around on the internet, and the rise of AI tools like ChatGPT only raises more concerns.

While schools in Canada have not banned ChatGPT yet, it has been banned in certain districts in the U.S., France, and India.

ChatGPT has also been banned by large corporations, such as Goldman Sachs and the Bank of America.

Is a ban the answer?

However, completely banning the use of ChatGPT may not be the right way to go.

After all, it seems almost impossible to enforce and users will always find a way to use the chatbot.

While ChatGPT does pose a threat to critical thinking, it could be used by educators as an aid in the classroom.

“It’s undeniable that tools like ChatGPT will only be more common in the near future.”

Some experts have advocated for the use of ChatGPT as being similar to tools like calculators, and allow it to be used sometimes.

ChatGPT can be used to create outlines in class, improve writing skills for English learners and even create customized lesson plans for students.

While the rise of AI tools is slightly unsettling and brings about a lot of uncertainty in the classroom, it’s undeniable that tools like ChatGPT will only be more common in the near future.

It seems imperative that educators, institutions, and students adjust to these tools and find the right balance.

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