ChatGPT: cheating or achievement? Local entrepreneur and professor weigh in

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:03 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The days of The Jetsons are no longer the stuff of futuristic television cartoon shows, but everyday real life. We now have Roombas to vacuum our floors instead of a talking robot housekeeper named Rosie, and instead of George’s boss checking in on him with a TV monitor dropping down from the ceiling, people are one click away from a Zoom meeting.

Artificial intelligence is getting more sophisticated every day. Your News Leader looks at how some people are using it to their advantage and what those in education think about the rise of artificial intelligence in scholastic work.

Marlo Anderson is a local entrepreneur and business owner. On any given day, he has a laundry list of things he needs to get done, like responding to e-mails, answering questions for customer support, and brainstorming new ideas for his businesses.

To help him out, he hired an assistant — the best part is it only costs him $20 a month. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence platform that can assist him with that laundry list of tasks. He says this new technology is revolutionary for people like him.

“I actually think the barrier to business has been lowered dramatically because of this and we’re going to see just a huge amount of new businesses starting that will generate more jobs, more economy, all this stuff because of this A.I. I think it’s fantastic,” said Marlo Anderson, founder of National Day Calendar.

Anderson said there are way more benefits than drawbacks to this type of technology. In academia, however, students have used the program to write papers and complete homework assignments. Michael Tomanek, an associate professor of English at Bismarck State College, says it’s a tool, but it’s also an opportunity for students to cheat.

“It’s very much like the graphing calculators of the late 80s early 90s where we’re going to have to learn how to work with it and use it to our advantage while also crafting our assignments so they are written in a way where the students are going to be challenged in a way to do critical thinking on their own, rather than having the machines spit out generic text on their behalf,” said Prof. Tomanek.

But students who choose to exploit the new technology may not be immune to detection. Because of chatbots like ChatGPT, there’s already software to detect what was written by a human and what was written by a computer.

“The text supposedly has a code in it, there are certain markers that identify the writing as A.I. produced. Kind of a hidden watermark that the layperson won’t be able to see but the machines will,” said Prof. Tomanek.

As this new technology continues to evolve, just like the calculator or typewriter, it will change how the workplace and education function. The way it is implemented and utilized will determine its positive or negative impacts.

Overall, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize both the business and education sectors. Its natural language processing capabilities can be leveraged to provide personalized experiences for customers and students alike, resulting in improved satisfaction and performance... and in case you’re wondering, ChatGPT wrote the previous sentence.