Home Artificial Intelligence Banning ChatGPT will do more harm than good

Banning ChatGPT will do more harm than good

Banning ChatGPT will do more harm than good

That’s a shame. If educators actively engage with students in regards to the technology’s capabilities and limitations—and work with them to define latest academic standards—ChatGPT, and generative AI more broadly, could each democratize and revitalize K–12 education on an unprecedented scale. 

A daring claim, I do know. But after a number of months of putting generative AI to the test (a nerdy case of senioritis, if you happen to will), I’m optimistic. Exhibit A? College applications. 

Few things are as mentally draining as applying to varsity lately, and as I slaved away at my supplemental essays, the promise of using ChatGPT as a real-time editor was attractive—partly as a possible productivity boost, but mostly as a distraction. 

I had ChatGPT rigorously review my cloying use of semicolons, grade my writing on a 0–10 scale (the outcomes were erratic and maddening)2, and even role-play as an admissions counselor. Its advice was fundamentally incompatible with the creative demands of the trendy college essay, and I mostly ignored it. However the very act of discussing my writing “out loud,” albeit with a machine, helped me determine what I desired to say next. Using ChatGPT to verbalize the space of possibilities—from the dimensions of words to paragraphs—strengthened my very own pondering. And I’ve experienced something similar across every domain I’ve applied it to, from generating fifth-grader-level explanations of the French pluperfect to deciphering the Latin names of human muscles.

All this adds as much as an easy but profound fact: anyone with a web connection now has a private tutor, without the prices related to private tutoring. Sure, an easily hoodwinked, barely delusional tutor, but a tutor nonetheless. The impact of this is difficult to overstate, and it’s as relevant in large public school classrooms where students struggle to receive individual attention because it is in underserved and impoverished communities without sufficient educational infrastructure. Because the psychologist Benjamin Bloom demonstrated within the early Eighties, one-on-one instruction until mastery allowed just about all students to outperform the category average by two standard deviations (“about 90% … attained the extent … reached by only the very best 20%”).  

ChatGPT definitely can’t replicate human interaction, but even its staunchest critics should admit it’s a step in the precise direction on this front. Possibly just one% of scholars will use it in this fashion, and perhaps it’s only half as effective as a human tutor, but even with these lowball numbers, its potential for democratizing educational access is gigantic. I’d even go thus far as to say that if ChatGPT had existed throughout the pandemic, many fewer students would have fallen behind. 



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