December 15, 2022

The Future of AI: What ChatGPT means for students

Imagine you had an online tool that was smarter than Google and able to converse with you just like a human could. This is ChatGPT – a newly released artificial intelligence tool and chatbox that is changing the way the world uses AI. 

You can ask it to write college application essays, debug code, and get answers to specific questions. For instance, you can ask the tool to write you a 5 paragraph essay about why social media is important for student well-being, and it will do just that – in seconds. 

So what does this new and exciting technology mean for students? Let’s dive in.

Tell me more

In just one week since its release, ChatGPT has surpassed over one million users. The internet is buzzing about the new platform, with users taking to social media to showcase how they are using it. The hashtag #chatgpt currently has over 139.9 million views on TikTok. One user took to social media and described ChatGPT as a powerful tool that can even explain quantum theory to a 5-year-old in the style of Snoop Dogg exceptionally well. 

The chatbox launched at the end of November and has ties to Elon Musk and Sam Altman, co-founders of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. OpenAI was created to develop artificial intelligence “in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole,” as stated on their website in 2015. 

Elon Musk left the company in 2018 because he disagreed with what the OpenAI team wanted to do. And earlier this month, Musk took to Twitter to share his own thoughts about the platform, writing that “ChatGPT is scary good. We are not far from dangerously strong AI.” 

Sam Altman responded to Elon Musk’s Tweet saying, “I agree on being close to dangerously strong AI in the sense of an AI that poses e.g. a huge cybersecurity risk and I think we could get to real AGI in the next decade, so we have to take the risk of that extremely seriously too.” 

AGI is artificial general intelligence and is the ability of an AI to learn any intellectual and cognitive task that a human is able to do. It would allow the AGI system to find solutions for problems.

How this impacts students

Many educators have taken to social media to share their concerns about ChatGPT and the possibility that students can use it to forge college essays, school reports, and take-home tests. Besides causing concerns about students using ChatGPT to get around doing schoolwork on their own, students should also be aware that not all the info they receive from the platform will be accurate.

Dr. Casey Fiesler, a professor and TikTok influencer, shared her experience using the platform, saying that ChatGPT generated fake articles when writing and citing an essay. 

ChatGPT is still in its early stages and will continue to grow. A statement on the chatbox for users reads, “I am not perfect and may not always have the correct answer to every question. Additionally, the information I provide is only as accurate as the data I have been trained on, which has a fixed cutoff date. This means that I may not be able to provide information on recent events or developments that have occurred since the training data was collected.”

Here are a few important things to know when it comes to using ChatGPT. 

  1. It may occasionally generate incorrect information
  2. It may occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content
  3. It has limited knowledge of the world and events after 2021

TSI’s Take

Technology is constantly evolving, and ChatGPT is just the latest example of this. It’s up to us as educators to support students and prepare them for the ever-changing landscape of their social world. How can we teach students to navigate new technology of any kind so that they are truly prepared?

Technology can give us inaccurate information about topics like science or geography. But while facts can be corrected by a teacher, family member, or mentor, technology can also give us misguided insight into our relationships – personal, professional, and with the role models we admire. 

Teaching students to navigate any technology to make positive, high-character choices and draw accurate conclusions about their social experience is key to developing a healthy life. 

You can equip students today by coaching them to do the following when they find information online:

  1. Check the facts by finding the same information from another credible source 
  2. Assess media bias with a tool like the Media Bias Chart
  3. Recognize sponsored content by looking for the #ad hashtag on sponsored social media posts
  4. Avoid emotionally charged and divisive headlines

Research shows that misinformation spreads six times faster than factual, credible information. For more insight into social media’s role in misinformation, check out this article. 

Always stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends online by subscribing to our newsletter where we talk about trending tech and social media news weekly! In the meantime, check out our Instagram and TikTok @thesocialinst for tips, trends, and highlights when it comes to social media. 

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and the creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support students’ health, happiness, and future success, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.