What To Do About ChatGPT


ChapGPT has caught the attention of the world. Schools are freaking out, standard industry is figuring out how to pivot, and entrepreneurs have already integrated it into their businesses. So, as parents, what should be we doing with or about ChatGPT? 

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence program. It was created for the customer service industry and the reason it is getting such buzz is that the chatbot is using a language-based model that makes it sound more like a human is writing. 

The computer uses Natural Language Processing and pulls information from textbooks, websites, and articles (basically the entire internet) and then composes responses to questions. 

Why Are Schools Freaking Out?

The reason many schools are worried about this technology and banning it is because their assignments are easily written by the artificial intelligence and many consider using the technology to be cheating. For example, if a teacher asks a question that would require drawing on general research like, what were the causes of World War I, ChatGPT can create a compelling essay in just a few minutes.

While there is not yet a clear path forward, these types of disruptions are not new to school systems. Some schools and universities are requiring that students write their essays by hand and in class so the technology can not be used. Many see this as a short-term solution and there are many pitfalls as it doesn’t support students who require the use of technology for learning challenges. Other teachers and professors have accepted the technology and are asking questions that go beyond the capabilities of the AI. Some also see this as a short-term (albeit longer) solution as AI gets more sophisticated over time. And, others are embracing it all together, encouraging students to use it and then analyze what’s missing or inaccurate in the AI-produced paper. Additionally, teachers and professors remind students and parents that many papers require specific citations meaning that ChatGPT could write the skeleton of the paper, but the student still needs to put in significant effort to make it their own and accurate to meet the standards of academic writing.

So What Do We Do?

Start by playing with ChatGPT yourself in order to increase familiarity and reduce your anxiety. You will quickly see that it is a tool that provides answers to basic questions. Your student will need to do the critical thinking that the AI can’t do. AI copy tends to lack emotion and descriptive words, repeats phrases, and uses filler text. So, if your student does use it, there will need to be significant time spent editing and rewriting the essay to make it their own and meet academic standards. (This type of analysis and editing requires a lot of critical thinking, which is a good thing!)

Disruptions to the status quo, especially in school, can feel catastrophic and scary, especially if schools are threatening to fail or expel students for their use of this technology. Schools are often slow to accept disruptions, harming students who are graduating into a world where this is their reality. And, if this is the technology of the future, which seems to be the case based on the swift adoption by many industries, we need to be encouraging our students to learn how to co-exist with it. 

What are your thoughts about ChatGPT? Have you played with it? Let us know in the comments.


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