“Digital doping”: artificial intelligence ChatGPT, a threat to education?

For the past fortnight, Stéphane Bonvallet, university teacher, has observed some changes in the essays he corrects: “On a set of copies this week“, he says, “I found seven almost similar copies and when I cooked one of my students, she confessed to me that she used ChatGPT in her copy.”

What put the flea in the ear to him: “The answers are always treated in the same way, are written in the same way, details this university professor. Artificial intelligence is able, if asked, to add personal experiences that are created like a movie script. And there it is the same, you always have the little anecdote that was created to measure with the little emotional side of the anecdote. It’s always the same number of characters, the same number of words, with the same notion of emotion. And you also have very few spelling mistakes, very few grammatical mistakes, which hardly corresponds to reality.”

Stéphane Bonvallet recognizes that ChatGPT “is efficient in editorial terms, but compared to our educational standards, it is always between 50 and 60% of correct answers only. These are very generic answers that are not developed so they do not always respond to what is asked of students in terms of educational items. But artificial intelligence is constantly evolving. The teams of developers, even amateurs, make it evolve with small additional software. So I think there are still some concerns.“, he asserts.

Include spelling mistakes

In high school, too, teachers wonder, like Justine, a philosophy teacher at the Nantes academy. “We haven’t spotted anything in the copies yet.“, she says. “On the other hand, with my colleagues, we started submitting subjects to the application to see how it was doing“.

And Justine is reassured. “As for my subject, philosophy“, she clarifies, “it is certain that for the moment and really for the moment, it does not allow cheating, and it is not yet capable of creating a real plan such as a student could produce it. I tested with several topics, including a topic that I had submitted to my students which was: ‘can we say everything?’ If we, as teachers, had this plan to correct, the mark would undoubtedly be very, very low because the plan does not correspond at all to the expectations of the exercise. It would be the plan of a student who shells, who juxtaposes elements without any explanation, without any analysis.”

So bad mark for ChatGPT in philosophy but beware, it is constantly progressing! Users can now even ask it to include spelling mistakes so they don’t get caught.

“Digital doping”

For Justine, it will necessarily be necessary to find safeguards. “It’s not entirely new“, she remarks, “in the sense that as soon as there is a homework or if a student has access to a telephone during a homework, he can have access to the internet so this question of the limit of the use of the internet, we have known it since long enough now. This is a problem with which we have been confronted for a long time. What do we do in case of plagiarism? There is software that can detect plagiarism. We can find the corrected elements recovered by the student. We can detect the origin of the text and know if it comes from a student or not. With ChatGPT, originality is tailor-made.

Justine has also planned to talk about the use of artificial intelligence with her students when she discusses the chapters on progress or ethics, as part of her philosophy classes. Stéphane Bonvalet would also like to convey this message to his students: “I put myself in their place“, he confides. “We offer them a tool that is still relatively efficient, even if it is incomplete. Humans always have this tendency to go towards things that are a little more facilitating in learning, so I can understand that they use this tool. But in all professions, there is a certain professional ethic to have, pedagogical knowledge to validate and this is not the right method. I often make the comparison with high-level athletes who dope and where the result is not the same at the exit. There, we can speak of digital doping. It’s not good.”

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“Digital doping”: artificial intelligence ChatGPT, a threat to education?


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