by Wyatt Bose ’23
ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI, has raised concerns among educators and parents about its potential negative impact on academic life. In particular, there are fears that ChatGPT could lead to an increase in fraudulent and insincere high school essays and college application essays.
One of the main reasons why ChatGPT is dangerous for academic life is its ability to generate highly convincing and sophisticated text on a wide range of topics. This means that students could easily use ChatGPT to write essays for their high school or college assignments, without putting in any real effort or thought.
Furthermore, ChatGPT is not limited by the same ethical considerations that human writers are. It has no sense of right and wrong, and no moral compass. This means that students could use ChatGPT to generate essays that are dishonest, manipulative, or even plagiarized, without fear of being caught.
Another concern is that the widespread use of ChatGPT for academic writing could lead to a decline in the overall quality of high school and college essays. Since students would no longer have to put in any effort to write their essays, there would be little incentive for them to learn and improve their writing skills. This could have long-term negative effects on their education and future career prospects.
Moreover, the use of ChatGPT for academic writing could also lead to a lack of individuality and creativity in student essays. Since ChatGPT is trained on a vast amount of text, it can generate text that is highly similar to existing writing. This means that student essays written with the help of ChatGPT could all sound the same, lacking the originality and uniqueness that is crucial for academic success.
Ultimately, ChatGPT is a dangerous tool for academic life because it has the potential to generate fraudulent and insincere essays, leading to a decline in the overall quality of high school and college writing. It is important for educators and parents to be aware of the risks associated with ChatGPT, and to take steps to prevent its misuse in the academic setting.
Worst of all, this entire article (aside from this one sentence) was written by ChatGPT in just under 20 seconds. Hopefully you, the reader, noticed this was written by AI because if you did not, then we may have a serious integrity problem on our hands.
Did you notice?
In light of ChatGPT’s sudden growth and popularity among high school and college students, I talked to Mr. Benson, Cyberpunk and Counter Culture Literature teacher, to get his perspective on the issue.
First, I asked, “What worries you most about ChatGPT?”
Shockingly, Mr. Benson did not seem fazed by the AI. He said, for a teacher that has been doing this for a while now, it’s not very hard to tell if a student’s work is original.
He said, “I can tell based on other student samples. You can tell students writing… I assume at a certain point there is a certain formula that can be discerned.”
Mr. Benson argued that, currently, ChatGPT may be a more efficient way of cheating but when it comes to detecting and exposing that cheating, as a teacher, he feels confident that there are clear distinctions and dissimilarities between a student’s work and an AI-written paper. He looks for “no originality or creativity.”
Furthermore, Mr. Benson made another fascinating point that, as a student, I was shocked to hear. He said, “Before Turnitin.com, I caught more cheaters.” Clearly, Mr. Benson, and I assume many other experienced teachers, feel they can discern between their students’ work and that of a computer.
However, if it is true for most teachers that they have caught less cheaters from Turnitin.com, could it be true that teachers are becoming too reliant upon the plagiarism-checking resource?
Mr. Benson’s final point in our interview was that his wisdom and know-how are the primary reasons he doesn’t fear ChatGPT. He argued, “It would be easier to doup a teacher who doesn’t have experience reading student work.” This is an excellent argument, especially in classes where Turnitin.com doesn’t catch the plagiarism and inexperienced teachers fail to scrutinize their students’ papers.
Ultimately, however you feel about ChatGPT and its sudden popularity in schools around the country, it will continue to grow and, eventually, could be the catalyst to the demise of academic integrity as young students around the country become more dependent on the internet and less motivated to learn.