What is ChatGPT –  Why College Students Should Avoid Using it for Assignments

In less time than it will take me to write this blog post, ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot, can create a 500-word novel. The chatbot, developed by Open AI research laboratory, can also write a screenplay for a TV show, summarize text you give it, and generate essays explaining the difference between actus reus and mens rea with criminal case law as supportive evidence – mindblowing to say the least!

You might be thinking, this sounds too good to be true, or you might be wondering what the pitfalls are of ChatGPT. Don’t worry. Shortly, we will be doing a deep dive into the web application.

Chat GPT was created by OpenAI research laboratory. OpenAI was founded in 2015 by a group of high-profile tech leaders, including Elon Musk and Sam Altman, with the goal of developing artificial intelligence solutions and research. The organization has since become a market leader in the field of AI and has made many significant contributions to developing new AI technologies and approaches. One of OpenAI’s breakthrough technologies in their software suite is ChatGPT which can be used to do anything from writing a topic for a blog, writing a youtube script for an upcoming video, and even suggesting answers to Frequently Asked Questions. The possibilities of Chat GPT seem endless.

To start using ChatGPT, you must be 18 or above and have an OpenAI account. The easiest way to register is by signing up with an email account. The chatbot is currently available for free, and the sign-up process is relatively straightforward. Over the last few weeks, the platform has gained over 1 million users, and because of the herd flocking to the website, there have been delays in accessing the service.

Although this platform is still in its infancy, and the founders have stated in later versions expect to be able to use the web application for writing more extensive outputs, college students should be careful and understand the platform’s limitations before even considering using the service. ChatGPT has been warned off by professors and some leaders. A thought-provoking statement by Peter Laffin, founder of Crush the College Essay, stated, ChatGPT and other AI chatbots will lead to a crisis in learning, forcing educators to rethink schooling entirely.

Let’s explore the reasons why college students should avoid using ChatGPT for assignments:

  1. Plagiarism – Misusing the platform can result in plagiarism. Text generated from ChatGPT is based on an algorithm and content available on the web application processing system. Therefore, if you attempt to use ChatGPT to do some research or create an essay, the over-reliance on the model can result in a lack of originality and your paper being marked as plagiarized. If you are a college student reading this, you probably know the implications of that.
  2. Writing Style – ChatGPT uses a predictive algorithm that replicates common patterns by way of phrase and word association and thus produces text that lacks voice, character, and unique style. To bridge the gap between bringing human voice, character, and human sensibility to writing, utilizing your own writing style will sound much better than the robotic pattern of the AI web application.
  3. Dependence on Technology: Relying on ChatGPT to meet coursework deadlines is ‘risky business.’ Due to its popularity, over the last few weeks, we have seen the web app fail, experience technical difficulties, and the service being completely unavailable. Therefore, if you decide to leave a deadline to the last minute hoping ChatGPT can take care of it for you,  you could be left disappointed.  
  4. Limited knowledge: ChatGPT is only as knowledgeable as the data it has been trained with. Currently, ChatGPT is limited to data up to 2019 and will not have up-to-date information. Therefore, if you need recent relevant data, ChatGPT cannot support it due to this limitation.
  5. Inaccurate information – Researchers have discovered, ChatGPT has failed at some basic mathematics and doesn’t always seem to answer simple logical questions with sound reasoning. At times, the chatbot can create incorrect facts also. It is important to note, unlike some other household names, like Siri or Alexa, Chat GPT doesn’t use the internet to find answers. Instead, it constructs a sentence coherently based on the 8 million documents and over 10 billion words in the technical framework. This allows ChatPT to use its human AI-trained operating system to select a set of words to come next. In other words, ChatGPT arrives at an answer by making a series of guesses, which is part of why it can sometimes generate wrong answers.
  6. Biased System Data: ChatGPT was trained by a group of humans across the world by the OpenAI team. This means that the same biases that exist in the trainers can exist in the data ChatGPT creates. In fact, users have shown how ChatGPT can produce awful answers, some, for example, discriminatory against different groups of people. To help address what OpenAI calls “biased behavior, ” it asks users to give feedback on wrong outputs. With the potential to cause harm to people, you can argue that ChatGPT shouldn’t have been released yet due to ethical issues and the statistical associations amongst words and phrases the model makes based on user inputs. 

Bottom Line 

While AI solutions like ChatGPT seem attractive, a college student should take a thorough view and assess the pros & cons of using the service on a case-by-case basis. There are benefits of using the service but also numerous pitfalls that could do more harm than good while trying to graduate with a high GPA.

About the writer:

Dominic Hay is a consultant, writer, and digital marketer with over 5+ years of digital marketing experience. He is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships and software to scale growth, personal finance, and investing. You can connect with him on his platform Ambitious Investor.