Editorial: ChatGPT is not trustworthy for academic writing

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 28, 2023

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been becoming more and more accessible to the public in recent years. Once a machine only used by corporations is now able to be used by anyone for any purpose. What sparked this increase in usage is a platform called ChatGPT, a public AI tool that can answer almost any question the user asks. The possibilities are endless, from restaurant recommendations to life advice, ChatGPT is equipped with an answer for almost anything. In some ways, ChatGPT seems to be a useful tool for the public to have access to. But, ChatGPT also has the potential to be used for malintentions, one of which being in the academic sphere. 

Cheating has always been a common issue in any grade level, from elementary to collegiate. Before the internet existed, cheating and plagiarism were much easier to catch. The introduction of the internet has made plagiarism much more available with Google and the copy and paste feature. Professors have adapted to these technological changes and have invented plagiarism checkers and made very strict laws, ones that could have you expelled from school, to combat academic dishonesty. When you add ChatGPT to the mix, determining academic dishonesty gets very cloudy. Using AI as an essay writer is fairly new, so it is very difficult to determine whether the text was written by AI or a human since it cannot be traced back to any published text. This loophole has led to many students across grade levels to use ChatGPT to complete their assignments for them. 

While ChatGPT is still rudimentary, the quality of writing is scary good. In one of my classes, my professor told a story about how she gave a student certain revisions to make on their article, and then when the student asked ChatGPT the same question, it responded with almost the same revisions. When looking at it with a naked eye, the writing ChatGPT produces is hard to discern from human writing. Its essays have decent enough theses and have quality structure. On top of that, ChatGPT can crank out a high word count paper in a matter of seconds. While the writing lacks purpose that only humans can create, the academic writing ChatGPT creates gets a score of “decent enough” and most students leave it at that. 

Something that is important to note about ChatGPT is that it remembers every single thing it generates. If a professor were to copy and paste a student’s article back into ChatGPT and simply ask, “did you write this?” ChatGPT would then search through its entire database and either say yes or no. This feature provides professors with a surefire way to make sure their students are honest about their work. 

ChatGPT can be used for good, but it also can be used for dishonest purposes in academia. For students looking for an easy way out of a paper or presentation, ChatGPT is not the tool you would want to utilize. 

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