Panther Editorial: Should We Make Friends with ChatGPT?

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: This is a real editorial written by an Eastside Panther editor, and not by ChatGPT.

Technology is inevitable. We might say that everyone is surrounded by tech these days, but looking into the future, robots might take over most jobs done by people today.

But let’s not worry about that at the moment. Right now we need to discuss a new tool of artificial intelligence called ChatGPT developed by OpenAI, which was launched last November and has raised concerns everywhere.

What exactly is ChatGPT? According to OpenAI’s website, it is an artificial intelligence interactive chatbot that “answers follow-up questions, admits its mistakes, challenges incorrect premises, and rejects inappropriate requests.”

The ways to use ChatGPT become obvious instantly. For students, ChatGPT can quickly and easily access knowledge that can help them with their studies — from answering questions about quantum physics to writing your How to Kill a Mockingbird paper for English teacher Stacy Arevalo.

Pretty cool, right?  Not so fast.

The Eastside Panther editors believe that we need to create guidelines for using AI in order not to depend on it, while also learning how to take advantage of its benefits.

The fear that students could use ChatGPT to cheat is evident; however, it isn’t the first new technology to make it easier to cheat. In the past, teachers across the world adapted to new technology when it created new ways to study and learn. Will that happen this time?

Students may be tempted to turn to ChatGPT for quick answers and easy solutions, which might seem efficient but actually takes away the joy of learning.

ChatGPT can provide support for students with academics when a teacher or peer isn’t available. By engaging in conversations with ChatGPT, students can learn to express themselves more clearly and concisely, and can develop their ability to formulate well-structured arguments and ideas. The tool can also benefit students who struggle with ADHD or writer’s block, because it can create outlines that ease the writing process.

But it could lead students to only rely on the tool alone, instead of interacting with teachers. And just like any other online tool, it can provide false information.

Rather than engaging with their coursework and developing their critical thinking skills, students may be tempted to turn to ChatGPT for quick answers and easy solutions, which might seem efficient, but actually takes away the joy of learning.

The quick solution that comes to mind is to ban it from schools. But students can still access it at home. And what about when they go to college? If they haven’t learned how to use it well in high school, they are more likely to abuse it in college.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it is more important than ever for students to develop strong communication and technology skills. Vice Principal Helen Kim said that the faculty is learning how AI and ChatGPT work and how to create curriculum that will teach students how to use AI wisely in their academic work.

That is a good start. Let’s make sure that we all do our part to take advantage of the power of AI for our work in school while not relying on it so much that we forget how to learn by ourselves.