ChatGPT, the popular chatbot launched late last year by OpenAI, has the ability to hold human conversations and write everything from code to content for its users. The chatbot received more than 1 million users in less than a week, and some believe that with it people will be able to spend more time on strategic, analytical, and innovative thinking. Others worry that their jobs might become obsolete in the future. Employees in jobs like copywriting, programming, creative writing, and customer services are potentially threatened with the advancement of this chatbot.
To get an idea of how this technology impacts writers and students, Imprint had a conversation with Lai- Tze Fan, an assistant professor of technology & social change at UW . She highlighted that this AI can only replicate patterns and present information which has already been fed into its database. Open AI updates ChatGPT every few weeks and every update is restricted to the database in any one period of training. When asked about her views on how ChatGPT might affect content and research writers, Fan said, “When you think about collaborative writing with AI, there is a need for interpretation and intervention. These systems are trained limitedly, and will not represent the perspective of every human, group, or community. To adopt and use this technology positively, you need a human to step in and use information provided by GPT and modify it according to themselves.”
Even though this instrument can provide suggestions and ideas, it cannot create unique and innovative content. As explained by Fan, “Our voices and emotions are heterogenous, it will evolve over time. But AIs like these are restricted to content which already exists in their database and cannot be evolved.”
Many are also concerned with the future this software presents for students and teachers. How might written assignments change as a result of ChatGPT? Fan cites an article published by The Atlantic, “Will ChatGPT Kill the Student Essay,” which is about teachers who rely on essays as a form of assessing knowledge outcomes in the classroom.
“The future relies on not ignoring these tools; they will not go away, but will keep developing. We need to learn how to adopt them. Students need to know how to create content on their own. They need to provide their personal experience and not just remain dependent on these tools to get things done. It’s nice to use a calculator but if you can’t do maths on your own, the calculator won’t help you.”
This story has been updated. A previous version of the story said, AI is restricted to content which already exists in their database and cannot be evolved.