ChatGPT can clearly help with generating text and assisting with various language-related tasks. While ChatGPT and text generators like it have many potential benefits, there are also certain limitations and challenges associated with their use. In particular, these five risks should raise concerns among all academics:
Risk #1: Plagiarism
First and foremost, it is important to note the use of chatbots in a college setting may not always be appropriate, especially when it comes to submitting original work for writing assignments and other projects. Academic institutions take plagiarism very seriously, and the act of generating text using these tools can be considered plagiarism since the text generated is not original. To avoid any issues with plagiarism, ensure the text you submit is original and written by you. Plagiarism detection tools help professors spot content that has been plagiarized — including AI-generated work — in student papers.
Risk #2: Lost knowledge
Another important consideration is that relying on chatbots can prevent you from truly comprehending the material you’re learning. While these tools may be able to assist with language-related tasks, they may not provide a complete understanding of the material. This is because you may not be actively engaging with the content and thinking critically about it. To truly understand the material and retain the information, actively engage with the material, participate in class discussions, and complete the necessary readings and assignments yourself.
Risk #3: Technology limitations
The New York Times points out that there are other challenges associated with the use of AI chatbots. These technologies may not have the necessary capabilities to address more complex or specialized areas of study, such as mathematics or engineering. They are designed primarily to generate text and assist with language-related tasks.
Risk #4: Misinformation
It’s important to note that ChatGPT and GPT-3 are still developing technologies, and they may not always produce accurate or appropriate results. While they have been trained on vast amounts of data and can generate coherent and relevant text, they are not perfect. Be aware of misinformation, false claims, and limitations of these technologies. In sum: do not rely on them as your sole source of information.
Risk #5: Your privacy and deepfakes
There are also privacy concerns associated with the use of ChatGPT, which cybersecurity advisor What Is My IP Address points out. These technologies may collect and store personal data, which raises privacy concerns. Read the privacy policies of these technologies to understand how their data may be used. To protect your privacy, be careful about the information you share and only provide what is necessary to access these technologies. Further, in addition to disinformation, deepfakes imitate other people — which ChatGPT can mistake for a valid source — and they are known to spread misinformation.
The University of Arizona Global Campus. (2023) What is ChatGPT and what should students know about AI chatbots?
Report ADA Problems with Library Services and Resources