Innovations in technology have the power to revolutionize the world. For instance, Google’s search engine debuted in 1999 and was far superior to its competitors, making it easier to find information online. The iPhone was another game-changer, bringing the power of the internet to people’s fingertips no matter where they were. Both of these technologies fundamentally transformed the world. A new major innovation was released to the public in November 2022, and we’re already seeing how it’s going to change the world.
User Friend Artificial Intelligence
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt. This model is trained on vast amounts of text data, such as books, articles, and websites, to learn the patterns and structure of human language. ChatGPT uses a transformer technique, which allows it to generate high-quality text with remarkable accuracy and coherence. Following on the viral success of ChatGPT, Google has released Bard and Microsoft is integrating AI language models into Bing. Several other companies have indicated they are also working on similar technologies.
To give you an idea of what ChatGPT can do, imagine typing a question on any topic and receiving a written response that looks like a human wrote it. You could ask it to write a 1,000-word essay on “Catcher in the Rye,” and it would produce an original work in about thirty seconds. You could also ask it to rewrite the essay to look like a 7th grader wrote it, and it would adjust the language accordingly. I have used it to revise my bio, write poems, provide potential titles, and to write portions of this very column. I would highly recommend anyone reading this to give it a try before reading further. You can set up a free account at https://chat.apps.openai.com/.
That’s cheating, right?
Well, that is a bit of a gray area. Using ChatGPT or any AI to generate an entire essay or assignment without any original input or critical thinking on the part of the student would be unethical and could be considered a form of plagiarism. Trying to prove that an assignment was written by a computer is much more complicated than you might think. As a result, many schools have banned or are considering banning the technology.
The Problem With Banning
The problem with banning the use of this revolutionary technology is that it’s impossible to prevent students from accessing it. They can easily access the site on their phone or other computer. Moreover, we need to embrace this new technology and teach students how to use it appropriately. Just like when Google search first appeared, many people were concerned that students would use it to find all the answers to their questions. But teachers eventually embraced the tool and started teaching proper use of search technology in schools. Similarly, we need to take a similar approach with these new AI tools. The sentiment being shared online right now is “This AI will not take your job or get you into a good school. Someone using this AI will”.
How could it be used?
While it is not specifically designed for educational purposes, there are several ways that parents can use ChatGPT to help their students with their studies:
- Writing assistance: One of the most useful ways to use ChatGPT is as a tool to assist with writing assignments. For example, parents could provide a writing prompt to ChatGPT and use the generated text as a starting point for their student’s writing. Students can also use ChatGPT to generate ideas, find synonyms, or get suggestions on sentence structure.
- Research assistance: ChatGPT can also be used to help students with research. Parents could provide ChatGPT with a research question, and the AI language model could generate a list of relevant sources or provide a summary of the topic. Students can also use ChatGPT to find definitions, quotes, or other information related to their research topic. While ChatGPT is typically accurate, even AI can make mistakes. Students would want to fact check the research.
- Test preparation: ChatGPT can also be a useful tool for test preparation. Parents could provide ChatGPT with a list of key terms or concepts, and the AI language model could generate definitions or explanations. Students can also use ChatGPT to practice writing essays or responses to test questions.
- Language learning: ChatGPT can be particularly useful for language learning. Parents could provide ChatGPT with a sentence in a foreign language, and the AI language model could generate a translation. Students can also use ChatGPT to practice writing or speaking in a foreign language by providing prompts and having ChatGPT generate responses.
- Comprehension: Parents could ask ChatGPT to generate a short story with questions to check younger learners’ comprehension. Consider asking it to generate a fantastical story about your family or your children’s favorite characters.
- General knowledge: ChatGPT can also be used to help students learn about a wide range of topics. Parents could provide ChatGPT with a question about history, science, or literature, and the AI language model could generate a summary or explanation. Students can also use ChatGPT to learn new vocabulary, facts, or trivia.
It’s important to note that while ChatGPT can be a useful tool for students, it should not be relied upon as a substitute for critical thinking or original work. AI relies on a human to provide it with a starting point. Consider what types of questions to ask and to always think critically about the information they receive. Parents should encourage their students to use ChatGPT responsibly by thinking critically and creatively.