Modern technology gives us many things.

What is ChatGPT and can students use it to cheat? We put it to the test

ChatGPT by OpenAI is a new platform that can generate text at the press of a button. And it’s already sparking concerns that it can be used by students to cheat and pass off the platform’s responses as their own work.

ChatGPT – short for Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer – can generate clear and fluent text on any subject.

Microsoft has poured a total of $10 billion into OpenAI with support going back as early as 2019 when the company invested $1 billion and another $1 billion round in 2021.

It is understood companies like Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Meta (Facebook’s parent company) are developing their own AI systems.

Users are already using the platform to write things like social media posts, real estate listings, job application letters, thank you notes and many, many other documents.

But what’s to stop a student getting ChatGPT to write their essay and completing their homework.

And remarkably, no two responses are alike so if two students in the same class ask ChatGPT for an essay on the same subject they will be completely different.

NSW, Queensland and Tasmania have already declared ChatGPT off limits in public schools.

Other states are currently considering their position, but it is expected they will ban it as well.

To generate text with ChatGPT you simply type in instructions.

For this article, Tech Guide asked ChatGPT to “write a 100-word explanation about ChatGPT and how it can be best utilised”.

Here was its response:

“ChatGPT is a powerful language model developed by OpenAI that can generate human-like text using deep learning techniques. It can be used in various natural language processing tasks such as text generation, language translation, and conversation simulation. It can be best utilised in areas like natural language generation for businesses, conversational AI for chatbots and virtual assistants and language translation for organizations which can save time and automate repetitive tasks with a natural and human-like experience for users.”

But ChatGPT does have some limitations.

According to the OpenAI website, ChatGPT has limited knowledge of world and events before 2021 and may occasionally generate inaccurate information.

ChatGPT is not like Google and cannot access information outside its own model – it can only provide responses based on its own logic and knowledge.

It also cannot provide opinions and cannot verify facts.

The challenge for educators is ensuring their students are learning the material rather than using AI.

Google has been a popular resource for students, but the search engine provides facts and resources – it doesn’t write their paper for them.

Tech Guide looked up the 2022 HSC English Advanced Paper 2 exam and found this question – How has your study of Great Expectations altered and expanded your understanding of duty?

Here was ChatGPT’s response.

“Great Expectations, written by Charles Dickens, explores the concept of duty through the character development of its protagonist, Pip. The novel shows how Pip’s understanding of duty changes as he goes through different stages in his life. Initially, Pip believes that his duty is to fulfill the expectations of others, particularly his benefactor and his family. As he matures, however, he realizes that true duty is not about fulfilling the expectations of others, but rather about fulfilling one’s own potential and living a moral and ethical life. The novel also explores the idea that duty is not just a responsibility to oneself, but also to others, particularly those who are less fortunate. Overall, Great Expectations expands and deepens the understanding of duty by showing how it can be a complex and evolving concept that is shaped by one’s personal experiences and values.”

ChatGPT is causing concern not only in education but in other areas like advertising, journalism and marketing because it can produce text quickly and easily without the need to spend hours researching.

But the platform is still quite immature and lacks the nuance and style that’s unique to every person.

ChatGPT and the other AI platforms are improving but should be viewed to assist in generating content but not replacing the human process.

A student, for example, may ask ChatGPT to provide background notes on a particular subject and then use that as the starting point for their assignment written in their own words.

This is a whole new era.

ChatGPT, and other AI platforms, should viewed as a tool that can help us rather than replace us.

You can’t program a computer to write a hit song or to produce a masterpiece.

It takes a human with talent and emotion to know what makes a song a hit or what makes a work of art a masterpiece.