Will Chat GPT help me take my exam?

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Artificial Intelligence has been around for many years in security, planning, logistics and internet algorithms, as well as chatbots. The controversy which is now surrounding AI is more to do with generative AI, which is capable of creating content, essays, code and, potentially, exam answers.

At the forefront of this is ChatGPT, a piece of software which uses artificial intelligence and is developed by OpenAI. Its launch has been seen as controversial because it can generate content within seconds and it was able to pass a law school exam, although it only managed an average C+ grade compared with real students’ average grade of B+.

ChatGPT generates content by using huge amounts of data from which it creates human-like responses and written content. Sometimes this data is inaccurate or offensive. This has given rise to allegations of unconscious bias, as the content is sourced from existing material publicly available which may itself be racist, sexist or factually wrong. In April this year (2023), Elon Musk and a group of AI experts call for a pause in developing powerful AI systems due to the potential risk to society.

How does chatbot software work?

Chatbots simulate human written conversation in response to your question or prompt. In the background, the software is using machine learning to express thoughts and ideas in a way which is appropriate to human speech and language. While the content that is produced is mediocre compared to that of a great novel writer or grade A student, it takes a matter of seconds to produce a paragraph of 350 words.

This has huge implications for society. Music and art can also be created by computer alone. An AI-generated photograph recently won the Sony world photography awards. Some commentators are suggesting that this software will be as significant in changing society and employment as machines were in the Industrial Revolution.

What are the implications of Chat GPT for students? 

“We are currently witnessing how a groundbreaking invention like AI is changing the way we work, study, generate and transfer knowledge,” says Professor Johannes Kiessler, Dean of the Faculty Art & Design and Head of Programme M.A. Innovation Design Management at University of Europe for Applied Sciences.

“Some people compare the potential consequences of this technology with the massive disruptions that were caused by the steam engine in the middle of the 18th century,” he says

“These bots are based on so-called Large Language Models (LLMs) and are designed to analyze large sets of existing data to identify patterns and predict outcomes. Sometimes, we must remind our students that all of these outcomes are based on something that has existed before.”He describes the changes as a “tectonic shift” and suggests that it might best be used to complement human creativity, not replace it.

“We encourage our students to find critical but creative ways for employing it, not as a standalone creative process but rather as a brainstorming partner, a content critic, or a sketch artist,” he says.“We must also remind them that AI is not a replacement for human, people-centric creativity, which requires the ability to read and understand emotions and leads to moral and ethical decisions.”

Human analysis is superior to that of machines – for now

Elizabeth Ellis, Head of School of Digital Education at Arden University, acknowledges that the way in which we are working is rapidly changing.

On the question of using ChatGPT to write essays, she says that the human touch brings a subtlety and nuance to work and decisions which AI does not possess.

“If students are using AI for assessment, are they truly demonstrating what they have learned? Will they still be an asset to the jobs market post-graduation? There are many concerns around using ChatGPT and we are well aware of the lack of emotional intelligence and the missing ‘human touch’ in AI’s work,” she says.

“We must always retain a person’s input. ChatGPT may be trained enough to pass the bar exam, for example, but how well can it assess the intricacies of the human mind that impacts the legal system and the deep analyses of legal cases?”

She says educational institutions and trainers should be focusing on those skills which will be insulated from automation: interpersonal or ‘human’ skills. “These are the tasks that software cannot replace and will become increasingly important in the future,” she says. “The ChatGPT uproar and AI moral panic begs for an entirely different approach – the education system should really be asking, ‘If AI can regurgitate information already, should we be asking our students to do the same?’.”

She says that in terms of employability, transferable skills are much needed, and readily rewarded. She argues that in the future, there may be a shift that involves offering assessments that step away from traditional examinations and instead asks students to navigate real-life challenges and develop ‘workplace-ready’ skills.

How can we preserve the integrity of training and exams?

Sheldon Monteiro, Chief Product Officer, Publicis Sapient, says that the researchers who evaluated ChatGPT’s performance in the bar exam were understandably surprised at the quality of the output which was generated for this challenging exam.

“Fortunately, ChatGPT is an AI language model, not a human being, and therefore cannot take and pass an exam with the objective of earning legal credentials and practicing law on its own, at least not in the foreseeable future,” he says. “For now, AI’s role will assist, but not replace humans. But make no mistake, this advancement in the capability of AI has profound implications for educators, students and the legal profession.”

He says exam boards will need to modify their evaluative methods to better assess students’ understanding, application of knowledge, higher-order thinking skills, structured analysis, and even the ability to effectively use AI tools and critically evaluate AI outputs.

Before students rejoice at AI tools assisting with studying and even helping during exams, they should keep in mind that while AI-powered language models can be a handy tool for exam preparation, examiners have tools to detect work that an AI language model has generated, he says.

“The language patterns in AI-generated text can give it away, making it sound robotic or lacking coherence. AI-generated work may also lack the depth, complexity, or originality typically expected from human work, and it is less likely to contain human errors like spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or typos.”

AI-generated content is not a substitute for original work. Properly citing and referencing any AI-generated content is essential to maintain academic integrity and uphold ethical standards in education.

“The most obvious advantage that humans have over ChatGPT is emotional intelligence,” he says. “Emotional intelligence will remain an advantage because professions are about understanding complex human dynamics, and using judgement about how others will react and respond to the arguments and context they are presented with.”

What does the future hold for AI software?

The debate on how and where AI is used will continue to be fiercely debated. Professor Kiessler says: “We strongly believe that used in responsible ways, AI Chatbots will become powerful extensions to the human mind in innovation processes.”

However, the concerns of Elon Musk and others are that AI may be employed in dangerous or irresponsible ways, which could damage society.

Perhaps the last word should go to ChatGPT itself, to whom I addressed the question: Can ChatGPT help me pass my exam. This was the response:

As an AI language model, I can provide you with information and insights that could potentially help you prepare for your exam. However, it’s important to note that I am not a substitute for studying and practicing the material on your own.

If you have specific questions or areas of difficulty related to your exam, feel free to ask me and I will do my best to provide you with accurate and helpful information. Additionally, I can suggest study techniques and resources that may aid in your exam preparation.

Ultimately, success on your exam will depend on your own efforts and dedication to studying the material thoroughly.

Hannah Dolan is AAT Comment’s Content Editor.

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