ChatGPT: The modern cheatsheet?


Technological advancement, especially in the department of automation, is not a new concept for young generations, who are said to have been born into the Internet. Artificial intelligence, one of the latest fields of technological research, has successfully escaped the hands of scientists and found its way into our lives, jobs, and classrooms. Little by little, AI has managed to find a place in every household, and now it can find a place in your assignments.

ChatGPT, meaning Generative Pre-trained Transformer, is an AI-powered chatbot that possesses the ability to effortlessly write your next history assignment, solve your math question, or even do your poetry homework. What makes it special is its ability to utilise deep machine learning to accurately mimic a human’s answer to any question you enter, even taking a previous conversation into account while answering. The result is effortless assignments written in seconds by a machine that sounds like you. 

Since its release on the World Wide Web in November 2022 by OpenAI, it has caused a wide range of reactions, with the number of people using it expanding by the day. And with open public testing comes a flood of competing ideologies and ethical concerns. Despite the fact that students love it, it is no surprise that everything is a little overwhelming and perplexing for the professors who have to encounter its use through their students’ submissions. It is no surprise that it has frequently been called “high-tech plagiarism” as well as “a way of avoiding learning.”

The concerns of the professor and educators are not unfounded. According to recent studies, over one in four teachers say that they have caught a student cheating by using ChatGPT. Although many educators have shared that it is easy to detect AI-generated schoolwork, others still remain concerned about the extent to which the issue is starting to affect today’s classrooms. More specifically, in a survey conducted earlier this February, around 72% of college and university professors expressed their concerns about the use of AI for cheating. In another survey of roughly 500 students aware of ChatGPT’s existence, about 64% of their students admitted to using it at least once for an assignment.

It is important to note that, despite the risks of this new technology for education, professors all over the world are not completely opposed to its use or the use of AI in general for educational purposes. What has been famously discussed is that students nowadays employ technology to make class interesting, and the very evidence of that behaviour is a tell-tale sign that the educational system is failing. Use of technology can take many forms in the hands of students, from using their phone during class to learning a 3-hour lecture through two YouTube videos instead of doing the assigned readings. Students today feel the need to connect technology with school in some way because it is the only aspect of their lives that resists doing so by itself. If we recognise the redundancy of today’s (or should I say yesterday’s) teaching methods and use technology to our advantage to make learning more interactive and bring it closer to the experiences of modern students, there is hope for a fruitful coexistence between the two.

What needs to be found is a compromise, a point between banning ChatGPT and its variations, which are being abused by students worldwide. We need to find a way to integrate AI into education as we have done in so many other aspects of our lives with ease, by acknowledging both its existence and its versatility. Educators worldwide say that they find ChatGPT another useful source to help answer students’ questions. After all, they also use a form of technology, most commonly Google, to answer questions without necessarily asking for an explanation.

However, even if a compromise between ChatGPT and education can be found in the years to come, the effects of this invention will grow way beyond the classroom. Scientists have raised concerns about ChatGPT being the first step towards the wave of automation that will swiftly make a plethora of jobs obsolete. Positions in advertising, content creation, market research, programming, and coding are expected to decline dramatically as AI becomes more prevalent. Accountants, graphic designers, positions in finance, and of course, teachers are also professions that will be threatened as the use of AI expands in its applications. It is, therefore, not only a matter of making peace with AI within the classroom but also outside of it, as we might be preparing our students for jobs that will have been replaced by an AI technology by the time they graduate.

Professionals also generally agree that technology should not be banned from educational institutions or the learning process itself. As technology  increasingly encircles our existence, it will inevitably seep into education even more than it has already. Instead of resisting its effects, we need to embrace its gifts and educate future generations on its dangers and pitfalls. Maybe by allowing chatGPT to coexist with today’s education, we will also manage to find a way to communicate to students the value of the process of writing an essay, rather than giving all the attention to the grade that comes along with its completion. Scientists comment that with the development of ChatGPT, we are entering a new technological era that will allow us to examine the limits of our knowledge and explore what intelligence actually is, allowing us to discover things we never knew we could. Education is changing, and the system needs to change along with it to be able to survive the technological revolution that is about to follow. Now, is this article written by ChatGPT? That might remain a mystery for the time being.

Featured cover image: shutterstock

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