Is ChatGPT an accomplice to collegiate cheating or an innovative research tool?

Imagine robots writing term papers, as well as songs and poems.

That may sound like something far off in the future but it’s happening today with ChatGPT, a new computer program taking artificial intelligence to a much higher level.

Ask it, and you shall receive, an answer to just about thing you request in no time flat.

“ChatGPT is artificial intelligence that exists in the cloud,” explained Emerson College Professor David Gerzhof Richard. “It communicates with individuals in a way that they are used to talking. It speaks English. You can have a conversation with it.”

It also has the capability to write a college essay. That talent sends shivers down the backs of those in higher education.

ChatGPT is artificial intelligence on steroids, using algorithms to mine a myriad of sources with lightning speed.

“You can literally go to ChatGPT and ask it to write a paper and it will do it in 3-5 seconds,” added Gerzof Richard.

One local college student told Boston 25 that “everyone knows about it.”

A young woman said, “in terms of classes and professors, obviously they would see it as cheating. I’m not sure about students. I feel like it is a little bit.”

And a young man told us, “there was a professor who was talking about some students that used it to take their final exam. It did not work out.”

Get past the concern over cheating and supporters of this technology say it has a ton of potential.

“It’s a big game changer,” said Gerzof Richard. “The real-world applications are wide ranging. It does translation. It can write letters for you very quickly.”

Boston 25 News wanted to get an assessment of the quality of the documents ChatGTP produces.

We created three samples: one about pop culture asking how the Beatles became the most successful rock band in history; another for a paper on the burning of the White House during the war of 1812; and finally, to write a letter from a tenant to his landlord because his apartment didn’t have any heat.

Lasell University Professor Denny Frey reviewed them for us.

He didn’t think much of the first two examples, putting them on par with work expected from an 8th grader.

Frey didn’t think there were enough specifics in the work ChatGPT created and that the same language was used too often. He also wanted to see more nuance in the writing as well.

The letter to the landlord got an “A”.

“It was crystal clear. It was on point. It specified the legal code. It had that level of specificity.”

Frey pointed out that in this case ChatGPT just had to go retrieve information, but it didn’t have to express its own set of ideas or arguments.

ChatGPT is only expected to get better – fast.

While that worries some white collar workers, Gerzof Richard says it shouldn’t.

“It’s just one of those things that will make you better and fast at getting thru the daily activities of a job. So, you’re not going to lose your job to ChatGPT, you’re going to lose your job to someone else who’s using ChatGPT.”

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