By: Hannah Duffee
Walking into Economics on Tuesday morning, I knew what I wanted to be in life. I was going to go to school for Creative Writing and work after college as a University professor who doubled as an author, poet, and screenwrite. This is what I had set my heart on since the beginning of high school. Two hours later, I would be walking out of my first period class questioning everything.
On November 30, 2022, OpenAI launched a new chatbot computer program named ChatGPT. By design, a chatbot is programmed to automate responses to questions that emulate normal human conversation. With the help of artificial intelligence, this chatbot can also learn and grow as it consumes new information, making responses more and more accurate as time goes on. ChatGPT, however, comes with a wide variety of implications. The Harvard Business Review claims, “Applying AI to creative and expressive tasks (writing marketing copy) rather than dangerous and repetitive ones (driving a forklift) opens a new world of applications.” While artificial intelligence has been largely applied to the fields of science and technology in the past, an application in the arts could change education and humanity as we know it.
In this way, ChatGPT could potentially put me out of both of my dream jobs. At best, a novel takes the typical publishing company and author almost a year to write and send out into the world. ChatGPT put together the synopsis of a murder mystery in seconds. Poems can be written in minutes with the sudden flurry of inspiration. ChatGPT wrote a poem about clouds in exactly fourteen seconds.
Many SOAR High School teachers understand the impact of programs similar to ChatGPT on education and a few have already exposed their students to this platform, explaining its implications and sparking debate. At first glance, it simply seems like cheating. If students can use programs like this OpenAI creation for essays and other types of homework and not get caught, then many assignments would become pointless. Nobody would learn if ChatGPT was completely active in our current learning environment. This is one of the cons.
There’s also a slight moment of panic where the thought comes to mind that this could potentially eliminate the need for human creativity and the uniqueness that comes with having individualized experiences and ideas. According to the LA Times, though, this is simply not true. Angela Duckworth and Lyle Ungar explain in “Op-Ed: Don’t Ban Chatbots in Classrooms — Use Them to Change How We Teach” that, “ChatGPT beautifully demonstrates how knowing and thinking are not the same thing. Knowing is committing facts to memory; thinking is applying reason to those facts. The chatbot knows everything on the internet but doesn’t really think anything.” If there could be a way for ChatGPT to exist where it was helpful to humans and left room for the arts and education to continue to thrive, I think the positives could definitely outway the negatives. Occupations like lawyers, doctors, and scientists would benefit greatly from a writing assistant such as ChatGPT and the humanities could keep being done by, well, humans.
ChatGPT is not the first artificial intelligence to alter the way we live, learn, and work and will not be the last. As the 2008 Walt Disney film Wall-E exemplified to the world, humans will likely never be done improving technology and there is a real likelihood that it will be taken too far. Others reject the idea that technology is getting too smart and too powerful to take over the jobs humans hold so dear like creative writing, theater, art, and dance. After all, humans are their creators.
I mean, if one of these paragraphs were written by Chat GPT you probably would have noticed, right?
Duckworth, Angela, and Lyle Ungar. “Op-Ed: Don't Ban Chatbots in Classrooms - Use Them to Change How We Teach.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2023, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2023-01-19/chatgpt-ai-education-testing-teaching-changes.
Mollick, Ethan. “ChatGPT Is a Tipping Point for AI.” Harvard Business Review, 14 Dec. 2022, https://hbr.org/2022/12/chatgpt-is-a-tipping-point-for-ai.