“ChatGPT is a computer program that can understand and respond to text like a person. It’s like having a conversation with a very smart robot,” says ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence text generator.

In November of 2022, the computer program ChatGPT generated significant public interest across the globe for its broad applications and commercial value. With the latest advancements in technology and learning techniques, this AI model demonstrated its ability to perform a variety of tasks, from generating book summaries, recommendations, and personal research assistance, to drafting college SOPs, essays, and emails. According to Ehsan Hoque, Associate Professor of Computer Science at UR, while the concepts used to build ChatGPT are not entirely new, the integration of them into this AI model marks a significant achievement in the field of AI engineering. 

With that being said, the system has also generated much dispute over its possible violation of academic integrity. The use of ChatGPT for homework assignments is a growing concern for professors across the globe. The University, on the other hand, has not addressed or made a statement on this matter. 

On top of posing potential academic violations for homework, ChatGPT raises the stakes even higher for exam situations. One such case is Professor of Political Science and Business David Primo. He entered one of his previous test questions into ChatGPT that had a very complex answer, and ChatGPT got it exactly correct. Despite concerns, Primo still feels optimistic about this new technology. He understands that the issue of academic honesty is a concern that has existed and will exist forever. He talks about this as well as the many other negative uses of the internet, saying “The internet makes it easy to spread hateful messages and pirate music, but do you want to go back to a time where you couldn’t bank online, [or] listen to music online?”

Primo also envisions this technological advancement being integrated into classes and assessments in the future. An example he gave was asking something to a class discussion that ChatGPT would not be able to answer. 

While we are still waiting for the University’s response in regard to the use of ChatGPT in academic writing, several departments and events have tried to decipher the system of ChatGPT, including a colloquium held by the computer science department, and a teaching workshop on ChatGPT AI chatbot held by the Departments of Computer Science and Philosophy.

“Universities should move slowly here and let faculty members experiment with various approaches to AI. A heavy-handed, top-down approach to managing these issues […] will be counterproductive and will stifle experimentation in how to adapt to a world of AI,” said Primo.

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