A very well-educated executive recently said at a party, after way too many drinks: “Don’t worry, my Tesla will drive me home.”
What could possibly go wrong?
This example is important because we, as a culture, have bought into a lot of threats from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its foot soldiers, who are very well funded and feeding a culture that thinks waiting for the microwave takes too long. We are not naïve, we are impatient. That impatience has translated into undervaluing ourselves and the evolution of all industries. Examples: In animation, artists believe they will be replaced. In customer service, people will be replaced. Accountants, lawyers, will all be replaced. Yes, perhaps, but replaced by the equivalent of a Tesla driving us all home. Remember that Teslas have been seen in ditches when faced with a little snow. Like the declaration in the 1950s that radio is dead because of TV, AI is a fear monger. Radio, it can be observed, is not only alive and well, but podcasts, talk radio’s evolution, is stronger than ever.
Let’s take a step back as our 12 to 18-year-olds enter the month of tests, essays, and proof that they’ve learned something this year. By the time Chat GPT is unpacked, you won’t be scared. You’ll be armed.
TEACHING MOMENT: ALLOW ONLY THE ESSAY TOPICS THAT CHAT GPT GETS AN “F” ON
Compare Chat GPT to the sort of change that happened when Google came out. Kids could just google anything on a multiple-choice test. So, tests changed. Google became a way for kids to study for tests, not to take them. Essays and word problems emerged stronger and more common. Take-home multiple-choice tests became less common.
A very similar adjustment is needed now. Chat GPT is more technologically sophisticated, but by now parents and teachers are as well. Don’t underestimate that. With Google, it was simpler and faster to find the plagiarist. Chat GPT is harder because the syntax and word choice are harder. Teachers, and parents, must ask the same question in many different ways.
But Chat GPT is not creative. It relies on the info out on the web that it has digested, and simply throws it back.
So teachers and parents need to find an essay question with little-known answers out there on the Internet. They’ll get grammatically correct bad answers. That’s an essay question teachers and parents can allow kids to write about.
“Teachers can pre-run sample essay questions on Chat GPT,” says Jason Britt, who is a Ph.D. in AI, a certified public accountant (CPA), and CTO of Cyber Team Six, a cybercrime prevention company with a patented solution to find fraudsters. “Take an esoteric subject and find topics where Chat GPT is producing F papers. Then assign those topics. Or let students choose among those topics for final essays.”
PARENTS MUST SUPERVISE HOMEWORK
Parents are important in this mix, because institutions alone cannot prevent cheating, and they never have been able to. Kids need to understand early what cheating is using Chat GPT. Until teachers and schools up their game in tests and essays, parents need to supervise more closely.
One survey of 2023 K-12 teachers from Study.com found that more than 70% of teachers “have not received any faculty guidance on ChatGPT,” 43% “think ChatGPT will make their jobs more difficult,” and about 1 in 4 teachers have caught a student using ChatGPT to cheat on assignments.
Parents should ask their kids what essays they’re choosing and go look them up on Chat GPT. If it’s too easy to plagiarize, tell them no. Tell the teacher they shouldn’t be able to do that essay. When it comes to essays, all that is needed is more sophisticated topic approval: Throw the essay topic to chat GPT. If there’s already an essay out there, the student has to choose something else.
The great side effect of this process is that kids will challenge themselves more, and even prepare themselves for much better essays on college applications and for college itself. Chat GPT will become a way to take in the content that’s already out there, and then go to the next level. They will learn conceptualization, debate and critical thinking.
USE CHAT GPT TO GENERATE DEBATE TOPICS FOR IN-CLASS ASSIGNMENTS:
This is certainly advice for teachers and not parents. However, parents need to get involved and bring this to Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs): “Generate some of the Chat GPT essays on a topic and give it to the students as a debate assignment,” Britt suggests. “Find sources, challenge it, tell me where it’s wrong and right.”
HERE’S SOME GOOD NEWS: CHAT GPT IS A TERRIBLE MATH STUDENT
“Math and science are smarter than Chat GPT,” Britt says. “Chat GPT scored a lot worse in accounting classes than the students. Standard algebra and geometry are exceptions so the work should be closely supervised.”
Make math, especially algebra and geometry, and chemistry problems word problems, and Chat GPT won’t do well, Britt advises. “When you start getting technical, and you need to analyze the text, and then formulate the problem, and then solve it, Chat GPT won’t do well because it can’t implement the ideas,” Britt says.
Lastly, if you, your kids, or your kids’ teachers use Chat GPT, please make sure to check if your personal data has been breached along with it. (securityintelligence.com/articles/chatgpt-confirms-data-breach/) Feel free to contact me for information on how to do this, and how to move forward using Chat GPT more safely, along the lines of the advice in this article. I can be reached at 914-466-5976 or you can email Rivka.firstname.lastname@example.org.