Should We Use ChatGPT?


Kevin Bird


December 8, 2022

Until a few days ago when I started trying out ChatGPT, I didn’t think this was a question I would have to contemplate for at least a few years, but, realistically, I thought this was 10+ years away from being a question for me. But recently, I have been contemplating the question of what types of problems should I allow a system like ChatGPT to solve? What do I feel comfortable using it for and what tasks should I do without assistance?

I feel comfortable using ChatGPT to do any writing that I would otherwise be doing where the reason of the writing is not to show how well I am able to write, but is instead conveying information to an audience.

Here is the logic I’m using to justify this stance:

​ When I started learning math, I was not allowed to use a calculator. Every year, we were told that using a calculator was not allowed and this helped me learn the fundamentals of math at a good level. But at some point, the usage of a calculator became a convenience that unlocked higher-level math because we were no longer constrained by how long it took to multiply large values together or find a square root.

My thought is that the usage of ChatGPT is similar to the usage of a calculator and should therefore be considered a tool to unlock higher-levels of writing and ideation. It doesn’t remove my responsibility to verify claims and at the end of the day, anything that is published by me is my responsibility to validate and stand by.

I do see why this type of tool is concerning from an educational perspective and I believe this will just require more in-person writing assessments to verify that a person is able to write at a certain level of competency. The other thing that I think will be interesting is to test students on the essay that they have written. For example, if a person hands in a 4 page essay on Van Gogh, are they able to answer questions about the essay after the fact? Each student’s test could be personalized based on what they handed in. At the end of the day, I believe the solution for this type of problem is going to vary depending on what exactly the reason for the essay is.

I don’t believe that artificially throttling a system like ChatGPT is a net positive for society and I believe there are enough challenging problems to work on that we should be encouraging the utilization of this type of technology when possible to achieve results that would otherwise be hampered because we would be bogged down writing essays instead of thinking about the problems in the world that are waiting to be solved! I would love to hear your thoughts about this and am always open to changing my mind. Looking forward to hearing everybody’s perspective on this important topic!