AI Essay Writing Sparks Widespread Fears of Cheating on Exams

Is college essay writing dying? Google Trends shows searches for “AI essay writing” skyrocketing 2,041% in December of 2022 compared to the last five years.

Need to write a college essay about the War of Independence? Soil fertility? A review of Pride and Prejudice? All you have to do is hit “generate” on the AI tool, and just like magic, the essay produces itself without you needing any prior knowledge of the subject!

Below is a sample output for a Pride and Prejudice review as taken from ChatGPT:

“Pride and Prejudice” is a classic novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the life and romantic entanglements of the Bennett family, specifically the eldest Bennett's daughter, Elizabeth. The novel is known for its sharp wit, social commentary, and complex characters. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature in the English language and continues to be popular with readers today. Overall, “Pride and Prejudice” is a witty, entertaining, and thought-provoking read that will appeal to fans of classic literature and romance novels alike.”

As Google trends analysis shows, artificial intelligence (AI) is used more frequently for what may be considered “cheating” in education. A recent Guardian report reveals that a lecturer has found one-fifth of submitted University essays were bot assisted by AI programs such as ChatGPT.

OpenAI acknowledged that ChatGPT “…sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.” Although the essay generated by the tool might not be perfect, it is a good start for the disheveled student who may lack the time, knowledge, or resources required to write well-researched essays on their own.

‘AI' has become a worldwide phenomenon, leading to searches of the term increasing by a staggering 159% in December compared to any other year since 2004, Tiny Wow reveals. This dramatic increase began shortly after the November 30th launch date of ChatGPT software, where an unprecedented one million users registered for it within five days! Now let's explore the potential consequences this groundbreaking technology brings with it— both positive and negative.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a web-based AI program that can generate long-form essays in natural language. OpenAI, an AI research and non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that AI benefits humanity, launched ChatGPT as a prototype on November 30, 2022.

The innovative conversational chatbot gives users a personalized experience. It has the ability to ask follow-up questions, challenge inaccurate premises, and reject requests outside its scope of purpose. With the help of this cutting-edge software, users can not only ask it to write text in any style they choose— be that summarizing, paraphrasing, or otherwise— but also compose code effortlessly.

OpenAI hopes to make our world a better place. However, it sparks the question: at what point could generative AI become a danger to our education systems?

What Are the Potential Negative Implications of ChatGPT?

Plagiarism: Users have discovered that AI technology can complete tasks in a fast and efficient manner. For instance, students may request ChatGPT to summarize a text or compose an essay on any subject and receive their results in a few seconds!

Easy-to-use AI tools may negatively impact student learning if students rely on them to complete their homework assignments and projects. If AI technology continues to progress and evade anti-plagiarism software, educators may need to rethink their assessment strategies.

Writing malware: AI can also be used to write malware, including ransomware and other malicious scripts. According to dark web discussions, certain software users have requested ChatGPT's AI tool to generate python scripts with malicious intent.

Over time, this could result in cybercriminals carrying out extortion schemes. In other words, these criminals have the capacity to hold data hostage and coerce victims into paying them a ransom.

Educational Inequality: The availability of AI-generated essays also increases educational inequality, as those with access to free and paid AI tools can benefit from this technology.

What Are the Potential Positive Implications of ChatGPT?

Improve education systems: Instead of perceiving generative AI as a risk to learning, it can be used as an opportunity to improve existing educational structures that may have become outdated. For instance, AI may be used as a tool to develop creative solutions to problems or automate teachers' administrative tasks, such as lesson planning.

Improve business customer service and content: By leveraging ChatGPT's capacity to converse naturally with people, businesses can upgrade the customer service experience and ultimately reinforce their customers' devotion.

This will boost customer satisfaction and establish a long-term relationship between a company and the client. ChatGPT could also serve in content creation, such as article writing and social media, saving businesses time and money.

A spokesperson from Tiny Wow comments on the findings:

“The increased interest in AI technology is sure to have an impact on education, businesses, and the general public. Utilizing this incredible tool should be done so with caution, as the temptation to let an intelligent software do the work for you can open you up to potential risks of plagiarism or presenting inaccurate facts.”

As AI continues to evolve, educators must be more creative and adaptive in fostering original thought and critical thinking among their students. With proper precautions in place, however, we may embrace the positive potential of these technologies while keeping academic integrity at the forefront.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Caitriona is a private language tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. Caitriona has been teaching the English language since 2016. She has taught in schools in Spain and the U.K., and she currently teaches online. On her blog, you will find tons of English language articles, worksheets, resources, tips, and advice for learners and teachers.