ChatGPT has significant implications for businesses and classrooms, offering the potential to redefine how we work and play, increasing productivity, improve operation, save money and create new revenue streams. However, it’s important to be aware of the technology’s risks and limitations.
February 27, 2023
When new technology is released, it has the potential to change the course of people’s lives. With the launch of ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), a state-of-the-art language model, in November 2022, business and academia alike are evaluating the potential impact.
The technology uses deep learning algorithms and vast amounts of text data to generate human-like text, with the ability to understand and generate responses to a wide range of text-based inputs from answering questions to completing tasks and even creating content. It predicts the next string of words in sequence in response to the presented prompt, in any style requested, instantaneously, and it’s available at no cost.
Beata Jones, a professor of business information systems professional practice and an honors faculty fellow at the John V. Roach Honors College, has been at TCU Neeley since 1995. She has hosted faculty sessions discussing ChatGPT and has incorporated it in her classroom. Jones responds to a series of questions about the emerging technology of ChatGPT.
Q: When did you first learn about the potential for Artificial Intelligence to create content?
A: Growing up in Poland, at the age of 16, I read a book about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the first natural language processing system called Eliza, developed at MIT by Weizenbaum. That book inspired me to pursue a career in information systems. I have been waiting to work with Artificial Intelligence that can pass the Turing Test ever since, for over 40 years. While ChatGPT has a lot of well-documented limitations, it still has the potential to change how we live, work, and play, creating an inflection point similar to the introduction of the first Netscape browser, the iPhone, or social media.
Q: What are the benefits and limitations of incorporating ChatGPT in higher education?
A: The integration of Artificial Intelligence in education has the potential to revolutionize how we learn and teach. ChatGPT offers several benefits for higher education, including personalized mentoring, content creation, and communication skill development, all aimed at enhancing the learning experience for students and making life easier for educators. ChatGPT can play an important role in helping students develop the communication skills that are essential for business success.
Despite its potential, ChatGPT has several limitations that must be considered when using the tool in an educational setting, including lack of contextual understanding or common sense, limited domain knowledge, depending on training data, limited creativity and imagination. It is important to recognize that ChatGPT is not a substitute for human interaction and should not be used as the sole means of support for students. Instead, it should be used in conjunction with other resources, such as human teachers and advisors, to provide students with the comprehensive support they need to succeed academically.
By examining the benefits and limitations in greater detail, educators can make informed decisions about how to best utilize ChatGPT in their teaching practices to provide students with the best possible learning experiences, transforming higher education.
Q: How are you using ChatGPT in your classrooms?
A: ChatGPT has been present in my classrooms since the first day of the spring semester, when I introduced the tool to my students, discussed how the tool could be used to make us more productive and help to learn, and how it should not be used for the entire assignments. Mid-January, only about half of my students knew about ChatGPT. A week into classes, I had to motivate them to sign up for ChatGPT, by asking if they wanted to have more free time to have fun. Now, almost all my students have a ChatGPT account.
In my core class, we experimented with generating answers to homework prompts and quickly found out that ChatGPT is good at summaries of articles but is unable to respond to the complex questions posed in the homework assignments that require critical thinking and facts from readings with references. We have used the tool successfully for some weeks to help us brainstorm multiple ideas for how to use a particular group of technologies we study for digital transformation at our selected companies. Then we used our critical thinking and discussed what approach would be the best for each company.
In my information systems development class, I had students do an integrity quiz and complete an academic integrity honor statement after we discussed the potential uses and misuse of ChatGPT in class. Since then, we have used it in class to help us troubleshoot code, write a block of code, explain a block of code, suggest several test cases, etc. We all tested ChatGPT with the same prompt to find out that we sometimes get different answers, some of them incorrect, and discussed the importance of domain expertise/critical thinking to check the logic offered in the answer. Students are using the platform at home as a personal tutor, to help guide them to correct answers, which in the past required a visit with the faculty or an outside tutor. Some of them are using ChatGPT to test their understanding of the concepts to prepare for quizzes. For their final paper, students are required to experiment with four generative AI tools that could be beneficial to IS development and document the pros and cons of each tool in an artifact that can be generated with assistance from other generative AI tools.
Q: Would you explain the classroom concerns about cheating associated with Chat GPT and how it can be addressed?
A: To date, a good portion of the conversations in the academy about ChatGPT have focused on how it “robs students of motivation to write and think for themselves” and called for the return of pen-and-paper or oral exams to avoid plagiarism and cheating. The early focus on student cheating and ways to combat the cheating has been misplaced, though certainly understood. Suddenly, tools have become available to students that have allowed them to respond to assignments with content generated by technology in a matter of minutes - for free. The problem in this scenario is not with the student's use of the technology but with the faculty's lack of adaptation to the new reality, which of course will take time. We should educate the students about proper and improper technology use in our courses, motivate them to use it properly, and ultimately, revise our assignments, elevating the challenges presented, rather than try to police the students using AI cheating detection software. The future belongs to those who can master working collaboratively with generative AI.
Q: What are the business implications of ChatGPT and what makes this technology tool so unique?
A: ChatGPT has significant implications for businesses, offering the potential to increase employee productivity, improve company operations through better data insights, and cost savings. However, it's important to be aware of the technology's limitations, such as the risk of providing incorrect information, lack of contextual understanding, bias or discrimination, lack of emotional intelligence, and lack of transparency, just to name a few.
While there have been similar technologies to ChatGPT in the past, none have matched its level of sophistication and natural language processing capabilities. The wide availability, quick adoption rate - 100 million users in less than three months - and impact potential of ChatGPT make it a game-changing technology. Generative AI tools will change how we work and engage in the world, expand the intellectual discourse and propel research, allowing us to achieve previously inconceivable accomplishments. PwC predicts that Generative AI will contribute over $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
Q: How would you describe the future of Chat GPT?
A: ChatGPT as a tool will continue to evolve and get better at natural language processing, research, and providing correct answers without biases, eventually exceeding the speed and quality of answers provided by human experts. There will be a massive number of tools built to take advantage of the technology for specific purposes, in every industry, that will be integrated into various other technologies used for personal use and in all enterprises. You can already see an inkling of that at thereisanaiforthat.com, listing over 2000 generative AI tools available. With ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies, we can expect to have our personal assistants before long. The future of ChatGPT is exciting and potentially scary if left unregulated.