Being Mindful about ChatGPT

By BB Jiruppabha

After its recent public launch, ChatGPT—an artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI—has been increasingly used in universities and schools, for purposes ranging from essay writing to coding assignments. This technology pushes the boundaries of AI that many of us have been exposed to. The New York Times called ChatGPT “the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public.” Despite its many pros, this technology comes with drawbacks that we should be aware of so that we can use it in the most useful way to help with our learning and assignments. 

One of the benefits of using ChatGPT is that it can increase efficiency in the research and planning process. For example, in writing or research assignments, you could input general ideas into ChatGPT to generate a variety of topics, which may help you see connections between areas you may not have thought of before. Asking ChatGPT to narrow down the scope of the topic or clarify questions you may have about the prompt can also speed up the process of planning and organization. You could also get a rough outline of an essay, which you can then further refine and build upon. 

Another benefit is that ChatGPT can help double-check your work. For example, if you are working on a written assignment, you could put your work into ChatGPT and ask it to provide feedback on your grammar, sentence structure, and overall coherence. ChatGPT can also be helpful in checking work in other areas, such as math or science. For instance, you could input a math problem into ChatGPT and ask it to double-check your work or provide guidance on how to solve the problem.

On the other hand, ChatGPT has its downsides, such as giving inaccurate or vague answers. ChatGPT operates by making probabilistic guesses about which parts of text belong together in a sequence, using a deep learning algorithm trained on massive amounts of text data before 2021. The way ChatGPT operates makes it prone to giving wrong answers, even in simple math or coding problems. If the information included in your search is not in the database, whether it be because the information is newer than 2021 or the information has restricted access, then using ChatGPT would not produce a specific and accurate answer. To completely trust ChatGPT would not be wise. 

Even though ChatGPT is considered a breakthrough technology, its limitations are a reminder for us not to become too reliant and think that it can entirely replace our problem-solving and analysis skills. For now, it is likely best to use this technology as a supplementary tool to speed up some processes in working and gather more ideas.

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