With ChatGPT, humans are too lazy to think

As ChatGPT became popular all over the world, more and more people began to integrate it into the work/study flow. Over time, people began to rely on the help of AI and lost some of their original skills. Naomi S. Baron, professor emeritus of linguistics at American University, raised some of her concerns.

Original title: How ChatGPT robs students of motivation to write and think for themselves

Original address: https://theconversation.com/how-chatgpt-robs-students-of-motivation-to-write-and-think-for-themselves-197875

The following is the full text compilation, the original address

When OpenAI launches ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence, in late 2022, educators are starting to worry. ChatGPT can generate text that looks like it was written by a human, so how can teachers check whether students use AI chatbots to generate text to cheat on writing assignments?

As a linguist who studies how technology affects how people read, write, and think, I think there are other pressing issues besides cheating. Including whether AI is threatening students' writing skills more generally, the importance of viewing writing as a process and as a thinking tool.

In my new book (Who Wrote This? How AI and the Lure of Efficiency Threaten Human Writing) about the impact of artificial intelligence on human writing, I survey young people in the United States and Europe about these impacts.

They reported a range of concerns about AI tools undermining their authorship. However, as I point out in the book, these concerns were not overnight.

User perceives side effects

AI tools like ChatGPT are just the latest in the field of editing or generating text. In fact, however, the potential threat of AI to disrupting writing skills and creative motivation has been around for decades.

Spell checking, and well-known AI-powered grammar/style correction apps, such as Grammarly (a grammar correction software) and widely used editing tools such as Microsoft Editor.

In addition to correcting spelling and punctuation, they also identify grammatical problems and suggest corrections.

And developments in AI text generation include online search auto-completion and predictive text entry. Type "Was Rome" into the Google search box, and you'll get a picklist that says "Was Rome built in a day."

Type "Ple" into the messaging app, and you'll get prompt options for "Please" and "Plenty." These tools intervene uninvited in our writing process and ask us to follow their advice.

During the survey, young respondents used AI to assist with spelling and word completion, but they also mentioned some negative effects. “If you rely too much on predictive writing tools, sooner or later you will lose your ability to spell,” said one of the respondents.

Another observed, “Spell check and AI software … are available for those who want to cut corners.”

One respondent mentioned the word "lazy" when talking about relying on predictive text input: "I find it useful when I want to be lazy."

less personal expression

AI tools may also affect a person's writing style. One of my respondents said that with predictive text input, "I feel like I didn't write that myself."

A high school student in the UK raised the same concerns when describing Grammarly:

Grammarly cripples students' artistic expression…it draconically revises students, depriving them of their own unique writing style.

Likewise, philosopher Evan Selinger worries that predictive text input reduces the power of written language to activate thought and express personality.

“By encouraging us not to think too much about what we say, predictive technologies are subtly changing the way we interact,” Selinger writes. prevents us from thinking."

In cultural societies, writing has long been known to help people think.

Many have quoted author Flannery O'Connor's comment: "I write because I don't know what I'm thinking until I read what I say." Many other successful writers, such as William Faulkner and Joan Didion, have also expressed Similar to emotion. If AI writes for us, we lose the opportunity to think for ourselves.

One dire consequence of using a program like ChatGPT is that the text is grammatically accurate and flawless. It turns out that the absence of mistakes is a sign of AI rather than humans writing words, as even experienced writers and editors make mistakes. Writing with real people is a process: a process that involves us questioning what we originally wrote, then revising or starting over.

school challenges

When working on a school writing assignment, ideally there should be an ongoing dialogue between teacher and student: the process involves discussing what the student wants to write, sharing and discussing the initial draft, and then the student continues to think and polish.

This usually doesn't happen, though, because most teachers don't have the time to fill the gap between co-editorial and educational roles. Beyond that, they may also lack interest or necessary skills, or both.

Conscientious students sometimes take on some aspects of the process themselves, as professional authors do. However, relying on text generation tools such as Grammarly and ChatGPT for a long time often makes it too easy for people to use off-the-shelf technical results to replace opportunities for thinking and learning.

Educators are brainstorming how to make the most of AI writing technology.

Some point to the potential of AI to drive thinking or collaboration. Prior to ChatGPT, earlier versions, also based on GPT-3, had been licensed by commercial enterprises such as Sudowrite, a software that helps people write their own manuscripts. Users can enter a phrase or sentence and then ask the software to fill in more words, spurring the creative inspiration of a human writer.

evanescent ownership

Yet there is a fine line between cooperation and aggression.

The author Jennifer Lepp admitted that she relied more and more on Sudowrite, and the text she wrote "no longer looks like my stuff." Looking back at what I wrote, there is not much connection between the text and my thoughts, which makes me feel sick.

Students have a harder time distinguishing the line between "writing assistance" and "letting AI take over their content and style" than experienced writers.

As the technology becomes more powerful and popular, I predict that schools will educate students about the advantages and disadvantages of generative AI in the future. However, it is difficult for humans to resist the temptation to rely on AI to polish writing, or use it to complete most of the writing work.

Spell checkers, grammar checkers, and word-completion software have paved the way.

The Writing Process as a Human

I asked ChatGPT, "Are you a threat to the human drive to write?"

Its answer is:

There will always be creative, original content that uses the unique perspective and insight of real people.

It continues: "'Writing' has many other purposes besides creating content, such as self-expression, communication, and personal growth, and even if certain types of writing can be automated, those purposes can still encourage people to write."

I'm heartened to see software seem to acknowledge its limitations.

I hope educators and students will do the same. Writing assignments are made for more than just grades. Writing is a journey, not a result-oriented task.

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