Can ChatGPT help you cheat? Not really, say experts, students

Can ChatGPT help you cheat? Not really, say experts, students

The system works with extensive textual data from books, articles, and websites, which allows it to whip up perfect humanoid responses to questions asked by the user.

Aditi AlurkarUpdated: Friday, January 06, 2023, 01:07 PM IST
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OpenAI's ChatGPT | Wikipedia

In 2023, a teacher may not be able to tell if the assignment he is holding is coming from his student or has been chronicled by Artificial Intelligence, courtesy of Chat GPT. Launched by a research lab called OpenAI, Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer or ChatGPT has taken the internet by storm since its launch on November 30, 2022. With only a simple prompt, AI can answer a variety of technical, creative, and even philosophical questions.

The system works with extensive textual data from books, articles, and websites, which allows it to whip up perfect humanoid responses to questions asked by the user. From something as significant as the Indian freedom struggle to a subject as bizarre as the diet of a Great Blue Whale, the software is capable of creating typical college write-ups spanning various topics. The Chatbot is also intelligent enough to humor you with screenplays for a car ad, radio telecasts on alien invasions, and lyrics to an R&B song.

While this kind of technology existed before ChatGPT came in, users had never experienced it with such ease. Unlike many others, ChatGPT does not need to be figured out to be operated. This AI works by simply typing in the query as if one were conversing with it. This no-brainer interface with a well-thought marketing campaign was blessed with Elon Musk’s support on Twitter, making it the social media sensation in no time while garnering 2 million users in four days, a feat that took facebook a decade to achieve. Seeing this, students across the globe hopped onto this wagon and explored ChatGPT for everything they needed to get done ‘instantly’.

'It's like having a personal assistant'

A bot that was beating the system put the age-old college projects of regurgitating 500 researched words will no longer serve any benefit. Many students understood this right off the bat and began using it to their advantage. “The type of theoretical work we get depends on the streams we pick. Though Computer Engineers have to submit only a few ‘wordy’ assignments, those studying subjects like Chemistry and Economics can heave a sigh of relief as a great chunk of work can be cut down for them. It is like having a personal assistant,” said a Computer Engineering student from IIT Bombay. It is only a matter of time till he finds out how the Chatbot can write Java and HTML codes tailored to his instructions.

The AI not only takes away a student's need to think during the exam, it completely removes the need for them to think at all. “I wrote an email to our college administration the other day. My seniors were very impressed with the way I framed it. Only when I told them the truth did they realise that the email was written by AI,” said another STEM student.

ChatGPT easier to use than to trust, say industry experts

ChatGPT is now also at the disposal of research folks, for the tool is being used to write instant abstracts for research papers. Those dabbling in creative fields like marketing and content writing can also get their starting points, if not the whole idea, from ChatGPT.

Though full of solutions, this chatbot is easier to use than to trust, explained Radha Yadav, a Data Science Manager. “Language Learning Models cannot be completely trusted when it comes to the accuracy of information. Older bots simply typed gibberish whenever the information was insufficient, which made it easy to detect limitations. ChatGPT, on the other hand, still gives us perfectly cohesive answers which appear to be very right even when they are absolutely off,” she said. Alongside these anomalies, ChatGPT also contains the bias present in information on the internet, giving answers that are not completely representative.

The much hyped AI has its limitations

Feared as a massive convenience that will make young learners complacent, ChatGPT still remains in its nascent stages. Relying on a limited database, the AI still flounders with the kind of facts it generated while only presenting data that was produced till 2021, so an assignment based on the latest COVID-19 variant might not bag full marks. Given these shortcomings the AI might see a crawling implementation in Indian schools if it sees one at all, said Yadav. As hinted by the OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, ChatGPT might even go behind a paywall after getting an improved userface, taking away from students their shot lived cheat sheet.

“Having ChatGPT is equivalent to having your own assistant, but it can never replace you. Students will still have to rely on their brains to come up with something out of the box as AI relies on patterns. Though the AI will do 80% of the work, the 20% of the human element is what will matter,” said Arup Acharjee, an assistant professor at Allahabad University.

Even if a foolproof AI seems farther away in the future, the growing fervor of ChatGPT has given many educationists a good reason to rethink their approach. “If AI such as ChatGPT is used by students to submit assignments, they may earn marks but will not have built competencies. This will undermine the value of credentials. Our assessment systems need to ask smarter questions that are beyond mere information seeking to keep ahead and prevent the decline of credentials,” said Meeta Sengupta, an educationist.

With the root work being done by AI, humans will have to focus on higher-order thinking to stay ahead in this race. This is why professors will have to rely on questions that attack the critical and ethical thinking ability of students to make projects meaningful, commented Meeta. 

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