Chatting with ChatGPT

Many of you might have heard of the online tool “ChatGPT” in the recent news. Some say it is incredibly harmful, others say it’s extremely helpful. So what exactly is Chat GPT, and why do some have such polarized opinions?

ChatGPT is a chatbot that was launched by OpenAI in Nov. 2022. According to OpenAI itself, ChatGPT is a model which interacts in a conversational way, with its dialogue format allowing ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.

What many find helpful is the fact that ChatGPT is completely free, unlike other chatbots. You only need to signup on the OpenAI website and login to utilize ChatGPT.

To test ChatGPT and see what it is capable of, I asked a few questions myself, such as “Why do people not care about journalism anymore?”, “Are standardized tests useful for measuring a student’s capabilities?”, and finally “Why doesn’t it snow in Tampa?”

I was shocked at the results. As someone who spends a lot of time writing essays and papers, I was flabbergasted at the accuracy and fluidity of ChatGPT. Whenever you ask a question, such as the three questions that I asked, you will receive a response in paragraph format. The tools’ level of speaking is perfectly understandable even at a middle school level, and its format is clear and concise. When doing my own research to answer these questions, I found that my answers perfectly line up with what ChatGPT had to say. ChatGPT’s answer to the second question about standardized testing was the following:

“Standardized tests can be useful for measuring a student’s capabilities in certain areas, such as their knowledge of certain subjects or their ability to reason and solve problems. These tests are designed to be administered in a consistent way to all test takers, which allows for reliable comparison of test scores across different students and schools.
However, it is important to recognize that standardized tests do not necessarily provide a complete or accurate picture of a student’s capabilities. For example, a student may perform poorly on a standardized test due to factors such as test anxiety, lack of familiarity with the test format, or difficulty with the language in which the test is administered. Additionally, standardized tests may not adequately capture a student’s skills in areas such as creativity, critical thinking, or collaboration, which are important for success in many fields.
Therefore, it is important to use standardized tests as just one part of a larger evaluation process that considers a variety of factors in order to accurately assess a student’s capabilities.”

Seeing ChatGPT in action and answering questions that are likely to be asked in a school environment made me think about if ChatGPT is helpful or harmful.

From the perspective of teachers and educators, ChatGPT could write essays or research for assignments on our behalf, which is definitely harmful. In this regard, students could plagiarize and not put in their work for the assignment. However, when ChatGPT is used properly for students, it can help with research and find a starting point to delve further into their research. It would be a helpful tool in academics, especially when there are limited sources to start their research on.

So what do you think? Is ChatGPT helpful or harmful?