If you are already starting to see ads on Instagram to encourage you to get a hair graft on the crown of your head, I’m sure you remember Encarta, an encyclopedia on CD-Rom that made students’ lives easier before El Rincón Del Vago and the Internet turned the cut-and-paste into an art form. Encarta ceased to appear in 2009 after 16 years of lights and shadows, but it had an advantage for teachers: it was easier to catch students’ copies than asking ChatGPT… among other things, because Artificial Intelligence tends to invent its authorship.
(Little) artificial intelligence
What happened in Texas was not in a high school, but in an entire university where all the students in a class failed and were banned from graduating because of new technologies. The thing is that a professor at A&M University, more specifically in the branch of agricultural sciences and natural resources, thought of copying parts of the students’ papers and asking ChatGPT if he had written something like that. The problem is that ChatGPT lies to please us.
It was May 16: Dr. Jared Mumm, aware that students could use Artificial Intelligence to help them with their papers, wanted to know to what extent. The problem is that ChatGPT is not able to find the difference between an original thought and an artificial one, so he claimed to have written all the papers. All of them. Anyone would think that chat is not perfected, but Mumm came to the only logical conclusion: absolutely all of his students had lied. A zero.
The funny thing is that there were students who did not even know what the hell ChatGPT was, but even though they tried to get the dean and the president of the university to take action on the matter, they preferred to turn a deaf ear. And although the students gave proof to the professor with receipts of the books they bought to do the work or different dates in their Google Docs proving that it was not even remotely a copy-paste, their professor replied that “he wouldn’t grade shit done with AI”.
After the controversy erupted, of course, the university rushed to tell the media that the problem was being solved and that several students had been exonerated, except for one who admitted to having used ChatGPT sometime during the course. I guess he will be called “the sucker”. Other students, however, have preferred to leave the trouble behind and write another paper to get out of trouble.
No matter how much we fear AI, in the end one thing is clear: at the current level, it is still a glorified Google search engine that, always wanting to please, will give you the right answer. This is going to make university jobs in the future much more complex to evaluate, but definitely, asking a machine if it has done something machine-like is not the best idea.
For your peace of mind, I will tell you that I have passed this article through ChatGPT and it has told me that it has not been written. woof.