Since the end of 2022, there has been a lot of discussion about chatbots. These are programs that are primarily intended to answer questions. They are widely used by web shops. If a customer types in a question, the chatbot will answer. This saves a customer service employee. But the chatbots are getting smarter. They can also make calculations or write texts. The latter in particular is being used more and more eagerly. Students see opportunities for the automatic generation of book reports and other papers. Is this a threat to their knowledge? Yes, in many cases.
Teachers with their hands in their hair
In the past, as a schoolchild or student, you spent days toiling on a piece of paper. Reading a book for the list took hours, and then you had to make a summary of it yourself. Today it is made very easy for students. They ask a chatbot to do their job. Lecturers are confronted with papers and book reports that cannot be distinguished from the real thing. We are working on software that can determine with reasonable certainty whether the text has been written by a human or by a chatbot. But until there is one, teachers have to trust that their students are honest. Or they have to ensure that their own knowledge is in order. Not only about the subject of a paper, but also about the skills of the student in question. Because an involved teacher can easily judge whether Robin wrote that text himself or whether it comes from the computer.
How reliable are the lyrics?
A straightforward text about the tourist attractions in Madrid can probably produce a chatbot swear fairly flawlessly. But as soon as it gets a bit more complicated, that story doesn’t always hold true. The chatbot is based on information that can be found online. And unfortunately that is not always correct. If a chatbot consults the wrong sources, it may just be that information is processed in the text that is incorrect. The human brain has the ability to link information. A person not only reads what can be found online, but also talks to other people, watches television, listens to the radio and reads newspapers and magazines. These are things that a chatbot does not do, unless the information can be found online 1 on 1.
A death knell for knowledge and creativity
Of course we have to take advantage of the advancing technology. We have been doing that for years now. If not, we would not have a washing machine and a tablet and hospitals would not use advanced equipment. But we have to make sure that we as humans do not allow ourselves to be controlled by computers. If we stop thinking for ourselves and everything that is presented to us by ChatGPT and its equivalents, there will come a time when we no longer know what is happening around us and we may not really care anymore. Or is that progress? Most people will be able to answer the answer to that question without asking a chatbot.