Editorial: Oct. 4 – The Hawk Newspaper – The Hawk

Attending college in the digital age is an unparalleled experience, with numerous unexpected developments not even the students could have anticipated. Since the increasingly prevalent emergence of ChatGPT, a chatbot created by OpenAI, users have essentially been granted the ability to direct an online program to write anything for them. Songs, essays, advertisements, you name it. People are using ChatGPT for a multitude of reasons in many different career fields. And for colleges and universities, chatbots introduce a new type of plagiarism – one where a student’s work may have been generated by artificial intelligence.
While AI-detection software for writing does exist, it is highly unreliable, often labeling chatbot work as genuine and genuine work as artificial. In addition, the root of the problem comes before a student ever uses ChatGPT. The question of why they felt the need to use it in the first place emerges. Is it a lack of motivation? Or because students believe their own effort wouldn’t warrant a “good enough” grade? What constitutes a “good enough” grade?
The answer likely differs on a case-by-case basis. But for those who feel the need to use ChatGPT because they lack confidence in their own work, it may be a reflection of the pressure that is placed on students to succeed. While we do not condone cheating in the slightest, it is not always a black-and white moral decision made by students for their own sakes. But who should we punish — ChatGPT, AI programs as a whole, the student seeking to placate their teacher with a “good enough” paper that warrants a “good enough” grade, the teacher for failing to notice their students slipping behind in the first place or the educational system for prioritizing grades above all else? Or, is a specific party even at fault at all?
The conversation around ChatGPT and other AI programs also extends beyond the educational sphere. AI art and voice generation face criticism for using the work of professional artists without permission to create “new” projects, but systems like ChatGPT are also being used in the business world to help companies write more straightforward messages to employees and consumers. The future of ChatGPT as it connects to academic integrity is still up in the air, but perhaps the first step is to zoom out and assess how and why students and non-students alike are utilizing these methods in the first place.