Should You Use ChatGPT for University Applications?
No, I’m not a robot. To what extent have you been requested to verify your identity on Google or another website? The requirement to write “I am not a robot” on a form may seem demeaning at first, yet it serves to highlight the importance of human connection. Will the question “Are you a robot?” soon be needed on college applications? This dilemma is posed by the recent introduction of ChatGPT, a conversational artificial intelligence application with the ability to “write.”
ChatGPT, a revolutionary artificial intelligence-powered writing tool, has taken the world by storm. It has been hailed as the “the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public” by The New York Times. Within the first five days after the product was made public, more than one million people signed up to test it. Will this tool, however, alter the landscape of college admissions as students begin to use it to write their application essays? Is this another case of how technology simultaneously simplifies and complicates our lives? Is this the beginning of our subjugation to more advanced, and hopefully more benevolent, artificial paymasters? Let’s dig deep into this topic.
The OpenAI tool is highly advanced, capable of not only generating complex computer code and high-end recipes but also crafting romantic poetry and even passing an MBA exam. Recently, a Wharton professor put the chatbot to the test by feeding it the final exam questions for a core MBA course. Despite some peculiar mathematical errors, the professor concluded that he would have given the bot a B or B-minus if it had been enrolled in his class. While ChatGPT can be a helpful tool for students writing college essays, it should not replace their own writing and critical thinking abilities. It is essential to remember that the college essay remains a significant component of the application process. It is also important to review the university’s policies before using AI-generated content and consider the ethical implications of using such content.
Some academicians have already started expressing their apprehensions regarding the usage of AI language models such as ChatGPT to write application essays. In fact, the NYC Department of Education has already implemented a ban on the use of this chatbot on public school networks and devices. One major issue associated with ChatGPT’s use in academic writing is the potential for cheating. With its ability to provide quick and comprehensive responses, students may be tempted to take shortcuts, which can hinder the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills that are vital to academic success. Therefore, some school districts have made the decision to restrict access to the bot.
In addition, there are worries regarding safety and accuracy of content generated by ChatGPT. While some proponents of AI technology believe that it can be used for pedagogical purposes, the use of ChatGPT for academic writing violates academic integrity principles and can lead to plagiarism. Using AI to generate content also lacks accuracy and fails to consider an applicant’s personal experiences, background, and skills, making it difficult to create an outstanding and unique admission essay that stands out from the competition.
The advent of ChatGPT has opened a Pandora’s box of ethical dilemmas by producing essays that are nearly indistinguishable from human writing. To combat this Edward Tian, a Princeton University senior, developed GPTZero, a software that can tell if a sentence was authored by a human or an AI chatbot. His app quickly and accurately identifies text sources using powerful algorithms. Additionally, renowned OpenAI guest researcher Scott Aaronson revealed that the team was working on a revolutionary method to stop plagiarism and cheating using machine-generated language during a recent lecture at the University of Texas. This new method would “statistically watermark” AI language models like ChatGPT. The strategy will gradually alter the AI’s word choices in an undetectable but statistically predicted manner. This would prevent unethical academic cheating by making it more difficult to pass off AI-generated work as human-written.
Suraj Bajaj, the CEO of Collegepond, a premier admissions counselling and test preparation outfit, feels that AI-generated text fails to reflect the unique voice, background and perspective of a candidate. According to him, it could be helpful for students to enhance their writing by identifying and rectifying grammatical errors, improving the logical structure and flow but it is an inferior choice for writing college application essays, which are intended to provide admissions committees with detailed insight into the applicant personality and character. Also, it may cause the applicants to sound generic, making it difficult for admissions committee to distinguish between candidates.
To conclude, it’s a fitting analogy to compare the evolution of ChatGPT to that of calculators. ChatGPT has the ability to speed up and simplify for students the writing and editing process, just like calculators did for complex calculations. ChatGPT should not be viewed as a replacement for a student’s own writing and critical thinking abilities, just as calculators did not eliminate the necessity for people to learn math and comprehend its concepts. Instead, ChatGPT and other writing/editing bots should be viewed as another knowledge tool that can assist students in improving their writing. Students can use these tools to identify grammatical errors, improve the structure and flow of their writing, and explore new ideas.
Let’s face it – AI is here to stay, whether we like it or not. The use of tools like ChatGPT is already gaining popularity so rather than falling a prey to its follies, why not take advantage of it? But, remember, it’s all about how you use it.