New York City Schools Ban Use Of ChatGPT Over Cheating, Plagiarism Concerns

By Bill Galluccio

January 9, 2023

OpenAI - ChatGPT - ChatBot  Illustration
Photo: NurPhoto

New York City schools are banning the use of a new artificial intelligence tool capable of writing essays and correctly answering questions. Officials said they were concerned about students using OpenAI's ChatGPT to cheat on assignments.

"Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content, access to ChatGPT is restricted on New York City Public Schools' networks and devices," Jenna Lyle, the deputy press secretary for the New York public schools, said in a statement. "While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success."

When OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November, many education experts were concerned about its potential for misuse and cheating. The program is capable of writing lengthy essays and was even able to generate correct responses to questions of Advanced Placement exams, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Because the text is automatically generated by the program, it makes it extremely difficult to determine whether the student cheated.

"In more traditional forms of plagiarism – cheating off the internet, copy-pasting stuff – I can go and find additional proof, evidence that I can then bring into a board hearing," Darren Hicks, assistant professor of philosophy at Furman University, told CNN. "In this case, there's nothing out there that I can point to and say, 'Here's the material they took.'"

"It's really a new form of an old problem where students would pay somebody or get somebody to write their paper for them – say, an essay farm or a friend that has taken a course before," Hicks added. "This is like that, only it's instantaneous and free."

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