'The college essay is dead': Academics react to ChatGPT

OpenAI recently released ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence robot that can write essays when given a prompt.

Some professors worry that AI will allow students to cheat without fear of being caught, while others see it as a useful advancement.

“The GPT models are a series of large language models that are trained to generate human-like text. The first version, GPT, was released in 2018 and was followed by several updated versions, including GPT-2 in 2019 and GPT-3 in 2020.”

“There is some concern among educators about the potential impacts of chatbots like ChatGPT on education. Some people are worried that chatbots could replace human educators or be used to automate certain teaching tasks, potentially leading to job losses.”

Interestingly, the first two paragraphs of this article were written by ChatGPT as I was experimenting with it before starting this article. The bot is free to use online and provided me with detailed answers to my questions within seconds. 

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ChatGPT has made quite a stir in academic circles. “The college essay is dead,” Stephen Marche states in an article for The Atlantic. “Nobody is prepared for how AI will transform academia.”  

Others are more relaxed on the subject. “Math didn’t disappear when calculators came along,” said Arizona State University Professor Dan Gillmor to Campus Reform. “But the machines did probably change how much arithmetic students do.”

Gillmor teaches journalism and mass communication. 

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“It’s clear to me that schools will need to adapt in several ways, and will need the help of the AI industry. We need to be able to tell, as much as possible, whether someone’s writing is AI-assisted or not,” Gillmor continued. 

He added, “And, more usefully, we need to find other ways to ensure that students can communicate -- and learn – - no matter what tools they’re using.”

Follow the author on Twitter: @emily_fowler18