What is Artificial Intelligence?
Is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.(Dictionary, 2023)
What is Chat Generative Pretrained Transformer?
Is an AI- powered chatbot from the OpenAI research company that stimulates a human speaking English and other languages. It generates a response when asked open-ended questions about any topic. It is also used for writing code, composing music, answering test questions and generating short essays and articles. (PC Magazine, 2023)
What is ChatGPT and why does it matter all of a sudden?
By now, just about everyone has heard about ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI) software similar to it. ChatGPT is a chatbot created by Open AI that predicts speech. Its primary function is not to operate as a search engine or to be a repository of knowledge; it simulates and predicts conversations that a user would have with another person based on the prompt entered into it. People have been manipulating ChatGPT to attempt to get it to write whole research papers, finish dissertations and in a recent case, a lawyer was fired for trying to use a legal brief that was created by the AI.
Obviously, the biggest concern with ChatGPT in academia is the usage of the software for the completion of research for both faculty and students. Sidestepping the ethical concerns for a moment (plagiarism, removal of academic rigor and no actual learning on the users part), a major issue with ChatGPT is its accuracy. Again, the AI is not a search engine, and the “facts” that it often responds with are incorrect and uncited. ChatGPT is designed for communication, not for veracity.
Circling back around to the ethical concerns, what facts ChatGPT does get right cannot always be readily cited. ChatGPT commits plagiarism by disseminating information without providing a source, so therefore, any usage of the software for research will immediately result in the user being considered as doing the same; the AI is even known to make up fake sources. ChatGPT removes academic rigor by sidestepping the normal procedures to give the user information immediately. Academia demands that one actively engage with the material in order to fully understand its contents. AI chatbots remove the possibility of an academic finding similar or related information to the research topic at hand. The sprawl of research helps to define the depths of a topic, and whittling down one’s research to a concise point strengthens the foundations of all research.
Maybe worst of all, ChatGPT takes away people’s ability to learn, not just specific topics but pedagogically. Learning and teaching are processes, and if a professor were to just give their students the answers, where is the education? Where is the formation of knowledge? Where are connections being made and new ideas being formulated? The destination is not always as important as the journey. Chatbots disrupt the creation of knowledge on an individual and institutional level, removing the user’s intellectual autonomy.
Analog methods of detecting ChatGPT may not be as fancy, quick or convenient as some of the tools tailor-made for the task, but they can be just as effective. Here are a few tips for how to not only spot papers written by chatbots, but how to improve your student's writing:
These are just a few tricks to help spot papers and essays made by the likes of ChatGPT. A consistent thread throughout this guide is to engage with your students as much as possible, imploring them to use best practices in their writing and impressing upon them the merits of improving their rhetoric.