Advanced AI

Chat GPT has become popular among students


Gracie Tucker

photo illustration

Story by Blaise Larry-Cox, Staff Writer

It’s human nature to desire to advance ourselves technologically to limits we couldn’t have envisioned in our wildest dreams, but what happens when we hit the apex? Enter ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that may be smarter than most humans.

ChatGPT is an AI learning tool, and as such, learns from people the more they use it. It has knowledge of events from the beginning of human history to 2021, an absolutely astronomical wealth of information at your fingertips. What separates it from a search engine such as Google, however, is its ability to have human-like interactions. You can ask it to teach you to divide polynomials with the Socratic Teaching Method, give you ideas for movies to watch or even cook a lamb heart–all of which it can do for you in an eerily human way.

I ask: “Write me a limerick about American politics in 2016.”

It responds:

“In 2016, the race was intense,

With candidates making no sense,

Trump and Clinton did spar,

With insults, both near and far,

Leaving the voters in suspense.”

All of this power opens a new avenue for a contested use for it: the question of using Chat GPT to do your school work.

With how responsive and smart the system is, it’s a no brainer to use it for all it’s worth. It has the power to compose naturally sounding essays about almost any topic in minutes, saving time and energy, especially for smaller daily work assignments.

“I didn’t have enough time to work on all my work by myself,” Alex said. “So whenever I figured out I can use it for assignments that were small, I can use it to do those while I focus on my bigger assignments.” 

If you have a short essay due for English next period that you forgot about last night or a couple lines of code you can’t figure out in computer science, why not use ChatGPT to finish that work for you? It can easily become a rabbit hole of avoiding your work however, as the convenience can become a cushion. 

“I know I could do the writing and write it well,” Cameron said. “I just don’t wanna have to critically think.”

Where students see the tool as a lifesaver and foolproof, not all teachers are as naive to the technology as they’re thought to be. Many have noticed the change in the quality of their students’ work since the early days of the program.

“I think the first time I [caught it] was fall semester,” history teacher Hunter Davis said. “The program was only developed in late summer/early fall, so the first time I ever got one was sometime in the first semester.”

When asked how he notices if a student’s work was made using AI assistance, he told how noticing a change in writing style and comprehension from a student’s previous works to the submitted assignment is a major telling sign.

“Well, if you’re a teacher, and you evaluate student responses, over time, everybody has habits in the way they write,” Mr. Davis said. “So a red flag to me is, if someone writes like a high schooler, and then all of a sudden, immediately in a response, they’re writing like a Rhodes Scholar, or someone in our graduate program at university. They don’t care about being meticulous, they just want a response to be able to copy and paste.”

Teachers can also detect if a paper was AI written using unconventional methods, such as asking the AI itself.

I know I could do the writing and write it well. I just don’t wanna have to critically think.

— Cameron

“I had several students in the same class turn in the same essay,” Ms. Rankin said. “So we turned it in on, and when I noticed that it was plagiarized between the students, I went to ChatGPT, typed in the prompt and I got basically the same response back from there.”

But even with teacher backlash, students have the argument “with this being the first year of Chat GPT, is it in the handbook that we can’t use it?”

“Every summer, the administration on the campus goes through new trends, things that have happened and how we need to update the handbook,” Julius Anderson said. “It’s impossible to do that in the middle of the year. It makes things seem unfair that a situation that arises in March and November were similar, but because the handbook was written a certain way, they were handled differently. When the summer hits, we’ll have a few months to make any necessary changes before the next school year starts.”

With the infinite potential and capabilities of such a tool, it needs to be expected, but also embraced that it may be used for less than ideal reasons. As such, teachers should be accommodating of students and incorporate AI into classroom settings to adapt them for a changing world.

“I think they should embrace it,” computer science teacher Mark Ahrens said. “You know, it’s not like internet browsing. If you go in there and you teach them, ‘here’s a safer way to do it. Here’s some of the information that you can use with this tool.’ You know, it makes it easier for the student to know what’s possible, what’s not possible, what’s legal and what’s not legal.”

With the availability of a powerhouse of a tool like this being worldwide and widespread, especially in a classroom setting, it’s essential to accept the technology and use it to further your own learning and understanding of the world around you.

*All student names have been changed to provide anonymity.