The Downfalls of ChatGPT

Tara Pai and Annie Wang

In Nov. 2022, OpenAI (an artificial intelligence research and development company) released a new artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, ChatGPT. Since then, the service has gained popularity, even among students at Lexington High School. Though AI has a set of benefits, it likely enforces more harm than good. 

The site can provide many benefits when it comes to academic work.

“It is a great addition to what the teacher teaches in class, as if the student has questions about what was taught or wants more information about the topic, they can get immediate answers from the AI,” Raymond Hang, a freshman, said.

The chatbot has various uses for students.

“Students use it to prepare for tests, ask questions looking for information,” Hang said. “[It’s] a convenient tool to check understanding and gain new insight and ideas into existing issues.”

But along with these benefits come a number of downsides. As ChatGPT is a highly accessible and advanced platform, it can easily be misused. One concern is that students may use ChatGPT to complete essays and homework, which harms their critical reasoning and analytical skills. 

“We need to understand how to write because that’s how we learn how to formulate our thoughts, to structure our lives, … and to analyze the world around us,” Alexa Muse, an English teacher at LHS, said. “If we’re never learning writing skills, we aren’t able to do those things and it leads to some very dangerous outcomes, very real life outcomes.”

Teachers have begun to recognize some downfalls of ChatGPT. Many of these problems are related to cheating or using chatbox answers for homework.

“At the end of the day, we teach the things that we teach not as pointless skills, but because they create agency in students and stronger people. When we see them being taken away, it’s very concerning for us as teachers,” Muse said.

Students also see the value in producing their own work instead of using material from ChatGPT, as an overreliance on the chatbot may cause a deterioration in the student’s skills. 

“Students should take creative freedom in their writing and not take ideas only from the AI and not think for themselves,” Hang said.

While ChatGPT has proven to have some value, in the context of the classroom, students will use it in ways that harm their education. Simply put, the cons outweigh the pros.

“Any time that you use a machine’s words in order to convey your own thoughts, it’s going to start getting very dangerous,” Muse said.