OpenAI’s ChatGPT, based on the GPT-3.5 language model, took the world by storm about three months ago, and already GPT-4 is snapping at its heels. It is promised to be cleverer and safer, with greater accuracy, broader general knowledge, and keener reasoning abilities. It scored much higher than ChatGPT during the uniform bar exam and Biology Olympiad. It reportedly makes fewer factual mistakes and is more likely to remain within the security guardrails, declining requests for disallowed content.
However, it is currently only available to paying OpenAI subscribers, with several select educational and cultural collaborations going ahead. For example, GPT-4 is presently deployed for Duolingo, Be My Eyes, Stripe, Khan Academy, and the government of Iceland for the Icelandic language preservation program.
Whether GPT-4 will ever be free for the use of the general public is up for debate. Still, we will always have ChatGPT, which many learners have already recruited as their study buddy. Indeed, being specifically designed to answer your questions in a way you would understand best, flexible, and capable of creatively interpreting the data it finds, this glorified deep-learning model is an invaluable tool for retrieving nuggets of knowledge from the ocean of open-source information.
Yet inventive students went way further than that. Instead of asking it questions to better understand their assignment, they just asked: “Will you write my essay for me?” and ChatGPT obliged.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT Essay Writer Capabilities
Since ChatGPT is a dialogue model built on top of GPT-3.5 and trained on massive volumes of texts available online, it does understand many formats. It can create song lyrics, poems, summaries of longer works, fairy tales, and essays of varying lengths. A number of users on Quora, Reddit, and Twitter have claimed they used ChatGPT for doing homework and got As and Bs for the papers they handed in.
True, ChatGPT successfully gives coherent answers to direct questions designed to verify your knowledge of a particular chunk of the curriculum. Some examples of such questions might look like these:
- “What were the causes of the Great Depression?”
- “What were the cultural consequences of the Vietnam War?”
- “What are some controversial aspects of biotech?”
- “What are the functions of plant cell components?”
Since this is essentially course book material, ChatGPT accesses relevant information with ease and gives a comprehensive answer.
However, one should understand that despite natural-sounding, human-like answers, ChatGPT is still only a language model – an interface between the asker and a dataset. It won’t know what you need as if by magic. You get what you ask for, so you must be precise with instructions.
For more complex assignments, topic, word count, approach, tone of voice, and an approximate outline should all be in your input if you want to receive a plausible answer. A suggested list of sources won’t go amiss either.
All in all, to get an essay beyond a simple answer to a direct question about class material, you must already imagine in detail what it must contain and how it should look like. Therefore, developing ideas and crafting precise instructions for ChatGPT might take some time.
Can Your Teachers Tell That You Use Chat GPT to Write Essays?
That’s the question on the mind of all students who decided they are finally free from the grind and can forget about hand-crafted essays once and for all. “Will I get caught?”
Of course, the answer is a rather disappointing “it depends,” – and let me tell you, it depends on many different things. First of all, it’s the complexity of the prompt and the level of personal input expected from the students. Suppose the prompt is dull and direct, resembling a test question rather than a thought-provoking essay topic. In that case, it will be more difficult to discern a genuine student from a computer model regurgitating the same information. If, however, it asks for a personal opinion on a local issue, things get complicated very quickly, and the answer given by ChatGPT will probably look contradictory and very suspicious.
Another aspect to be aware of is your grader’s familiarity with your writing style and manner of speaking. The bigger the class, the better your chances of getting away with a generated answer. However, suppose your class is smaller, and you regularly submit written answers during class tests or discuss topics in the classroom. Then, the voice of ChatGPT, either formal or colloquial, will be jarringly different from the style your instructor learned to associate with you.
Finally, your instructor might use software designed to detect machine-generated answers. Tools like these exist and constantly evolve parallel to AI’s growing linguistic capabilities. The text might look human-written, but the machine can pick up on irregularity (or suspicious regularity) of specific speech patterns and tell genuine human answers from the AI-generated.
Why Using Chat GPT for Essay Writing Is a Bad Idea
However, the most important reasons for not delegating your essay-writing tasks to ChatGPT are much more multifaceted than the risk of being caught or the necessity to craft long and detailed instructions. The danger lies in the hidden pitfalls of algorithmic text generation.
The first such pitfall is AI’s inability to assess the broader context and time sensitivity of the information it uses. This can be rectified in the future, but as things stand, ChatGPT makes a lot of factual mistakes because it doesn’t have the real-world context for the texts it uses. All texts are created equal in AI’s view. Authority of the source, whether it’s up-to-date, which country or demographic it talks about – Chat GPT cannot tell or just disregards this information. It hoovers in the data that looks like what you asked for, often creating a mixed salad with some very surprising and puzzling ingredients. This leads to inconsistencies, such as using Australian statistics to talk about US issues, quoting laws that have been overturned, etc.
Another issue that stems from this AI’s innocence of reality is the inability to tell the truth from fiction. It is allowed to be creative, so it invents facts, quotes, and even people for fairy tales and research papers with equal vigor. It doesn’t understand the fundamental difference between them apart from purely superficial form and structure conventions. There were many reports of fictitious quotes taken from non-existent interviews and entirely made-up statistics from surveys that were never conducted.
This is why AI-generated essays need to be thoroughly edited and fact-checked. When you do it properly, it becomes more trouble than its worth. With all the time and effort you invest in ensuring your AI-generated essay is up to par, you could have written it yourself in the first place.
Who Can You Turn to with “Write My Essay” Requests?
So, if not ChatGPT, who can save you? I used to be a student myself, and I know how overwhelming it can be. When everything seems out of control, when work piles up, anxiety and procrastination create a vicious circle, you are exasperated, and the deadline date in your calendar looks like judgment day – you don’t need pearls of wisdom like “You should have planned it beforehand.” You need help.
In these circumstances, where can you turn to? The best choice will be to find a reliable paper writing service. Reputable companies guarantee urgent delivery and complete anonymity, so you don’t have to worry about your school getting wind of you receiving unauthorized assistance. They take it upon themselves to deliver an original sample written by a professional human writer familiar with all the best practices of academic writing.
Yet that’s for emergencies. Next time, however, do try to plan your work and start earlier. Don’t feel pressured to finish your entire essay in one go. As you work on it bit by bit, you will see it’s not as frightening and overwhelming as it might seem. Plus, there are plenty of writing tools that can help you and make your work more organized and enjoyable.
Remember that writing tasks are not busy work instructors invent to taunt you. It is an exercise in processing information, critical thinking, assessing the validity of claims, and building arguments, which are all crucial skills no matter what career path you will eventually choose.