The Covid-19 pandemic encouraged the massive use of the Internet by the world's educational systems, and accelerated the development of new technological tools. which, until then, had little use.
One of those tools are the 'chatbots', which simulate having a conversation and respond to specific user needs.
Their popularity has been such that they have evolved to reach very advanced versions such as Chat GPT, who is capable of performing various writing tasks, from translating to creating texts and essays. What's more, ChatGPT and other similar 'software' dodge plagiarism detectors and produce original and credible academic texts
However, This technological marvel that is a chatbot system, based on a field of Artificial Intelligence called Natural Language Processing, has also become a problem for educational centers that are already beginning to limit it, because it discourages students from generating their own work.
Initially it was the New York Department of Education which banned access to the ChatGPT system for fear of being used by students to copy.
Department of Education spokeswoman Jenna Lyle released a statement outlining her “concerns about negative impact on learning and content accuracy” from ChatGPT.
"Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning and concerns about content security and accuracy, access to ChatGPT is restricted on New York City Public School networks and devices"Lyle wrote.
"While the tool can provide quick and easy answers to questions, it doesn't build critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success."added the official.
According to several American media, New York's decision could be replicated by other states. The New York public school network is the largest in the United States with 1.058.888 students in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Subsequently, Australia's universities decided to go back to traditional pen and paper for exams and papers after discovering several cases of misuse of technology for academic work.
According to the British newspaper 'The Guardian', the 8 most important Australian universities adopted the measure after discovering students using Artificial Intelligence to answer questions or write papers.
“We are concerned about the use of ChatGPT and other platforms. Our universities have reviewed how we will assess in 2023, including proctoring and redesign of exams, increased use of pen and paper, and multiple choice exams only where there is low risk "Matthew Brown, vice president of the group of universities, told 'The Guardian'.
“The redesign of the assessments is urgent, and it is a work that we are carrying out in our universities as we seek to anticipate developments with Artificial Intelligence”, Agregó.
“We are proactively addressing the use of Artificial Intelligence in education, redesigning exams and assignments and improving detection strategies”Brown remarked.
Faced with the new reality, la Australian National University already modified its evaluation system, which will be based on laboratory activities, field work and more oral presentations.
Meanwhile la University of Sydney incorporated into its academic policy an article that states that: “generating content using Artificial Intelligence is a form of copying”. Although a large number of cases have not been detected, a spokesman for this center has stressed that the university is preparing.
“We know that Artificial Intelligence can help students learn and that it will be part of the tools we will use in the future, so we have to teach our students to use it well”the spokesman said.
The concern is such that teachers have held extraordinary meetings to define the new protocols to deal with plagiarism and define the new forms of grading.
Paul Taylor, Professor of Computer Health at University College London, published an article in the London Review of Book in which he shows how one of those Artificial Intelligence programs answered questions that he had put in several of his exams to students. "Responds coherently, completely, and focuses on the topic, something that students often fail to achieve," Taylor wrote.
“Plagiarism checkers are useless. We will either have to set up a different type of exam or take students to an exam room and not allow them access to the internet. I guess we'll have to think differently about written assignments, too.", He said.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a computational system based on Artificial Intelligence (AI). An AI is a system of algorithms capable of performing tasks that regularly require human intelligence; in particular because they are tasks that need to process language, recognize patterns, learn and make decisions.
ChatGPT generates texts like a chatbot; that is, a computer robot that chats. When entering its page, it is enough to ask a question and it will immediately provide an answer. It can be about data, reflections or current events, there is no limit. Being a pre-trained model, it can be adapted to specific tasks.
The applications are multiple, and the specificity of the responses is astonishing. It should be noted that ChatGPT is not an answer search engine, but a complex algorithm made up of more than 175 million parameters that generates adapted answers:
- To the context of the question
- Upon user's requirement
- To the degree of training of its algorithms.