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Chat GPT: The New AI Taking Over University

Greg Devine


ChatGPT displayed on a mobile phone.

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I’ve spoken about artificial intelligence before in a previous article and even explored its features to create written content. This was many months ago and, whilst I was slightly impressed, it was clear there was some way to go before AI was going to put content writers out of a job. 

Now, however, there’s a new AI on the block, and it has proven very popular with students studying for their GCSEs to university undergraduates.

It’s called Chat GPT. Not only is it powerful, it’s also free (currently). It can do anything from answer basic questions to writing big essays with citations. Students are using the AI chat bot in some cases to cheat (which was one of the worries of the exam boards); however, in a lot of cases, it’s simply a background tool that makes life easier – it’s not the be all and end all. 

Whilst you could write out your entire essay using Chat GPT, this is very risky. Not only is it cheating, but the quality of an entire essay might not be up to standard. What Chat GPT can help you do is plan out your essay, combat writers’ block or rewrite parts of your submission so that it makes more sense.

It can even code for you, something I’ve found particularly useful. Whilst the chat bot could write your entire program for you, in most cases, it won’t be successful. Somewhere, there will be a slight error, such as an incorrect naming of a function, which will break the entire program. Where it can prove useful, however, is writing small amounts of code, should you become stuck. You can also input any errors you receive whilst programming and the AI will explain the error to you in an easy-to-understand manner. Thanks to this, debugging any code I write is considerably easier, as I can understand the mistake I’ve made.

Chat GPT is essentially a virtual teaching assistant. It cannot do all the work for you, but it can help you considerably. When used correctly, it can be an important tool in any student’s arsenal. It’s become immensely popular, which has become a slight issue, as the AI is often at maximum capacity; this renders you in a queue or demands you use it away from peak periods. I’m writing this article at 9am and I cannot yet access Chat GPT for some examples of its possibilities; I’ll have to wait until later when the digital traffic has died down.

Recognising that you cannot simply use Chat GPT to complete all of your assignments is really important. In the same way that schools check for plagiarism, using many different tools and software programs, they have now begun to check for evidence of AI-created content. There are ways to combat these checkers but it’s not something I would recommend. Also, if you only use the chatbot, you’ll never truly learn. I understand why people do it, but heavy use should be avoided.

Chat GPT isn’t just great in an academic setting. I’d suggest having a play with it, to find out just what it can do for you, in your job and for your sector. You can ask it anything and it will usually return with an answer. It’s been designed to not present bias and to be as neutral as possible. For example, I asked it if Brexit was a good idea. It said that it did not hold any political opinions, though it did give me a brief explanation of what Brexit is. I also asked the program if Boris Johnson is a liar. It gave a similar response, but it’s worth pointing out that Chat GPT still thinks he’s Prime Minister, as it only understands things more than two years old.

As a Computer Science student, Artificial Intelligence excites me. I feel people are quite scared of it, on the basis of how intelligent it could become; to an extent, I understand their concerns. If we continue to develop these AI chatbots, they could become an extremely useful tool for students to help with their studies, rather than cheating. If you’ve got a spare five minutes, check out Chat GPT and the other AI chatbots out there. Be warned, however, they may blow your mind!

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