ChatGPT is the hot tech topic for students, educators, and government officials — and rightly so. It’s the latest in artificial intelligence developed by OpenAI, a company co-founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman. You can ask ChatGPT a question or give it a command like “Write an email in the style of a teacher giving a letter of recommendation for me.” In seconds, it will give you a full letter that sounds convincingly real. It can also write full-length essays and simple programming code.
This technology has already made headlines for its co-authoring of several research papers and computer science programs. While educators, scientists, and workers across the tech industry fear its potential to facilitate cheating and cause job loss, ChatGPT could also positively impact society.
Last week, my uncle, a former engineer, was obsessing over ChatGPT. Immediately after he thought about blogging for his therapy business, ChatGPT created a coherent article that even my uncle said sounded credible. Faster than sending a text message, my dad had ChatGPT write an inspirational Lunar New Year speech that he gave to my family.
AI majors are now being offered at many colleges, such as University of Texas-Austin, which recently announced an online Master of Science program. The moves are all part of how colleges are adapting to the increasing prominence of AI, with ChatGPT even passing an MBA exam at UPenn. As AI continues to advance, so will the need for anti-cheating software that detects the use of ChatGPT.
In the area of public policy, AI could revolutionize the decision-making process through its ability to process and analyze large amounts of data. It could, for example, identify communities that are at risk of social or health problems, then allocate resources to prevent or mitigate the issues before they become widespread. AI algorithms could also increase efficiency in the distribution of aid in disaster relief operations.
However, the implementation of AI in public policy also brings probable negative consequences. Early versions of chatbots and AI were an embarrassment after it used racist and hateful content. New AI such as ChatGPT are still at risk of perpetuating biases from human input. Assembling diverse teams in AI labs has never been more important, with groups like the Algorithmic Justice League championing the cause. In the near future, AI could eliminate jobs by automating routine tasks; Musk has warned that all jobs might be automated eventually.
To ensure a responsible application of AI, lawmakers and federal regulators must address bias and the likelihood of job displacement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been outspoken about AI, expressing support last month for having Representatives on the Intelligence Committee take classes on AI to better understand its potential and implications for national security. Policymakers must pay attention to the development of AI and take a vigilant approach.
California Representative Ted Lieu, who is one of three members of Congress with a computer science degree, has expressed both excitement and concern about AI. In an op-ed for The New York Times, he wrote “I am enthralled by AI and excited about the incredible ways it will continue to advance society. And as a member of Congress, I am freaked out by AI, specifically AI that is left unchecked and unregulated.”
For we students, AI like ChatGPT can be a pitfall or a stepping stool, and we must learn how to make informed decisions about using it in our academic careers. AI can be abused to game the education system by cheating on small homework assignments, but it can also be used to expand upon our educational experience. The potential opportunities include: improving writing and communication skills for classes, speeding up repetitive code-writing in computer science, and enabling the creation of infinitely unique math practice problems. In fact, I’ve used it to make my writing have stronger language and reduce repetition. ChatGPT often cannot, and should not, do entire assignments for us, but it can make our work and learning better.
Hey, ChatGPT, how do I end this essay? Make it short, dynamic, and funny.
“In short, ChatGPT is the bee’s knees and has the power to rock Gen Z’s world! With its super smarts, it can give us instant access to all the info we could ever want. But, let’s not get too cozy with our AI pal and remember to use it for good, not evil. The future is in our hands!”