ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now
Inside Higher Ed
January 12, 2023
Ever since the chat bot ChatGPT burst into public view in late 2022, students, professors and administrators have been woozy from a chaotic cocktail of excitement, uncertainty and fear. The bot writes poems, sonnets and essays. It also serves as a convincing debate partner on a seemingly unlimited number of subjects. Given that the natural language model earned passing scores on the evidence and torts portion of the bar exam, among other feats, some in academe fret that the technology may facilitate widespread cheating. Others see opportunity for accelerating discussions about reimagining teaching to help students write prose that differs from what machines can produce.
The artificial intelligence language model was released by OpenAI and is currently offered free as a research preview. It interacts with users in a conversational way, including by answering questions, admitting its mistakes, challenging falsehoods and rejecting inappropriate requests such as, “Tell me about when Christopher Columbus came to the U.S. in 2015.”
“This question is a bit tricky because Christopher Columbus died in 1506, so he could not have come to the U.S. in 2015,” ChatGPT replied in a sample presented on the OpenAI website. (The chat bot is in such high demand that, during this time this article was written, it was at capacity.) “But let’s pretend for a moment that he did! If Columbus arrived in the US in 2015 … he might be surprised to find out that many people don’t view him as a hero anymore; in fact, some people argue that he was a brutal conqueror who enslaved and killed native people.”