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Description: I have encountered several articles in the past couple of weeks that report on, ponder, and worry about what seems like a recent advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI), that has likely been in the works for a very long time. The articles were looking at things like ChatGPT which are forms of artificial intelligence that can, upon request, produce cogently written prose of any desired length on a topic or question of your choice. Think about that for a moment. Is this writing’s ‘math when calculators arrived’ moment? What are the differences between a student (or you) being asked to write a 1000 word essay on the impact of Genghis Kahn on the world of his time and who writes it after doing research online or in a library as opposed to one who asks ChatGPT to provide the 1000 words on that question? One difference is that while ChatGPT would produce the requested “paper” in 20 to 30 seconds the student version would take longer. But, add in that ChatGPT would produce a different result if asked “write” the paper a second time. Beyond some not so simple questions related to plagiarism, what do you make of this AI ‘advancement’? Think about it from educational and developmental perspectives and then have a read through the article linked below which touches on both of these perspectives.

Source: ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of Writing, Glenn Geher, Darwin’s Subterranean World, Psychology Today.

Date: January 6, 2023

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/202301/chatgpt-artificial-intelligence-and-the-future-of-writing

So, what did you come to in your own thinking about this AI ‘advancement’ and in your reading of the issues raised by the author of the linked article? From a developmental perspective I have to say I am very concerned. I agree wholeheartedly with Jake Mayer that learning to write and developing your thought processes (your reflective, analytic, and critical thinking competencies/skills) are completely intertwined. While one needs some math skills and understanding to use a calculator properly and effectively, it does not seem that many if any thinking/reflective processes are needs to use AI like ChatGPT. Developing one’s writing skills requires the related development of thinking/reflective skills. This is why it is far too simple to say that issues of procrastination are simply due to needing more deadline related pressure to kick oneself into gear. A lot of procrastination is a resistance to the unacknowledged thinking/reflective development and work that are essential to the writing process and to moving every writing project along. Seeing the broader developmental parts of the writing task can help one get past issues of procrastination AND can help one to see some of the possible reasons for concern over the coming impacts of AI like ChatGPT. More thinking (not less) is needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is ChatGPT and what are some of its possible positive and negative implications?
  2. What are some ways in which the development of reflection, thinking and problem solving might be related to the development of writing skill?
  3. What sort of thing is ChatGPT (good, bad, complicated)?

References (Read Further):

Gotoh, Y. (2016). Development of Critical Thinking with Metacognitive Regulation. International Association for Development of the Information Society. Link

Teng, M. F., & Yue, M. (2022). Metacognitive writing strategies, critical thinking skills, and academic writing performance: A structural equation modeling approach. Metacognition and Learning, 1-24. Link

Hogan, M. J., Dwyer, C. P., Harney, O. M., Noone, C., & Conway, R. J. (2015). Metacognitive skill development and applied systems science: A framework of metacognitive skills, self-regulatory functions and real-world applications. In Metacognition: Fundaments, applications, and trends (pp. 75-106). Springer, Cham. Link

Magno, C. (2010). The role of metacognitive skills in developing critical thinking. Metacognition and learning, 5(2), 137-156. Link

Haque, M. U., Dharmadasa, I., Sworna, Z. T., Rajapakse, R. N., & Ahmad, H. (2022). ” I think this is the most disruptive technology”: Exploring Sentiments of ChatGPT Early Adopters using Twitter Data. arXiv preprint arXiv:2212.05856. Link

Susnjak, T. (2022). ChatGPT: The End of Online Exam Integrity?. arXiv preprint arXiv:2212.09292. Link

Domain, P., Domain, M., Learning-Engagement, S. M. S. O., Toolkit, S. O. L. E., YouTube, S. O. L. E., Framework, D. E., … & Framework, P. O. I. S. E. Category: Theoretical Perspectives. Link

Zhai, X. (2022). ChatGPT User Experience: Implications for Education. Available at SSRN 4312418. Link

Dallas, S. T. C. Thoughts on ChatGPT after reading Crawford’s Why We Drive: whatever skill you outsource, atrophies. Link

King, M. R. (2023). A Conversation on Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, and Plagiarism in Higher Education. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 1-2. Link

Noever, D., & Ciolino, M. (2022). The Turing Deception. arXiv preprint arXiv:2212.06721. Link