ChatGPT: Your new frenemy

Within seconds, the new artificial intelligence technology ChatGPT can write essays, computer code and now even pass an MBA exam. 

Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is a chatbot created by OpenAI as a part of a family of language models. Bamshab Mobasher, chair of the AI program at DePaul and director of Web Intelligence, said language models are an area of work in natural language processing and machine learning, allowing computers to learn from large amounts of text. 

“It can predict what can come next,” Mobasher said. “ChatGPT is not that much of an innovation, it’s sort of a nice engineering piece where they successfully put together these different elements.”

Since its launch in November, the AI service has been a topic of controversy on college campuses used for cheating. Its quality of writing and formatting has been sufficient to impress many educators. 

Countless universities around the country have started to prohibit the use of the service to prevent cheating. 

“I think it should be banned on college campuses,” adjunct professor Paul Bedell said. “I’m going to put in my syllabus that the use of this chatbot is banned.”

Even with school systems blocking the service, detecting its use is almost impossible according to Mobasher. 

Because of the uproar over this controversy, OpenAI stated that they are working on software to spot plagiarism in schools. 

“I’m not gonna argue against banning it but I just think it’s pointless,” freshman Zel Weilandgrubar said. “There is no way kids are not going to be able to get around it.”

From marketing campaigns, to outlines for essays, many believe that there are benefits to the service. Educators have used it to create layouts for their students, and write personalized lesson plans, saving time and money. 

Businesses started to integrate ChatGPT into their field since its inception. According to CNN, real estate agent JJ Johannes created a description for an online listing saving him time. Many agents use it to write listings, draft legal documents and create social media posts. 

“This could be a good automated application to develop a marketing campaign and things like that,” Mobasher said. “That would be very good for small businesses who can’t afford to pay a marketing firm to generate or develop stuff for them.”

The chatbot is not always reliable with its services and is prone to making errors in its reasoning and facts. The conversational skills of the service raise ethical concerns as it could lead to a loss of human connection. 

“The problem with it is it can sometimes generate nonsensical kinds of things,” Mobasher said. “Sometimes in fact it can just make things up.”  

With the creation of AI, Bedell believes automated writing cannot replace human elements that go into writing such as reporting and hands-on tests. 

“It will not replace true writers because if that’s the case you will lose all style, all nuance in the writing, and loose interjections of humor or sarcasm,” Bedell said. 

ChatGPT is not the first of its kind, but possibly one of the most influential with its ability for human-like conversation.