The New York City Department of Education, the nation’s most extensive school system, has banned the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT for, among other reasons, the fear that it will increase cheating by students.
The AI-powered chatbot can generate conversational answers to users’ questions and even write essays, drawing from online sources.
New York City Schools decided in early January to ban the tool “due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning and [the] accuracy of content,” school system spokesperson Jenna Lyle said in a statement shared with CNET.
ChatGPT, which stands for “chat generative pre-trained transformer,” can answer questions on everything from complicated math problems to writing computer code. The free artificial intelligence chatbot can even write a term paper or book report. A chatbot is a software that simulates human-like conversations with users via chat.
What makes using ChatGPT different than using a search engine like Google, ChatGPT generates its own original answers based on all the information already in its database. Google can merely offer you options. It can be used on various grade levels, including college.
ChatGPT was launched by San Francisco-based OpenAI in November 2022.
While ChatGPT can be used for a variety of reasons, Lyle pointed out, “it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”
In a statement sent to the Washington Post, OpenAI said it didn’t want the chatbot to be used for the wrong reasons in schools, and the company looks “forward to working with educators on useful solutions” to help students and teachers “benefit from artificial intelligence.”
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New York City wasn’t the only city to block ChatGPT.
One of the first school systems to ban Chat GPT was the Los Angeles Unified School District. The ban was announced on Dec. 12. A Los Angeles Unified School spokesperson told the Washington Post the ban was put in place to “protect academic honesty,” Forbes reported.
Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia banned ChatGPT on all county-issued devices in January.
According to a representative for Seattle Public Schools, the district banned ChatGPT from all school devices, citing the district “does not allow cheating and requires original thought and work from students,” KSL reported.
And, public schools in Alabama’s Montgomery County have also blocked access to the ChatGPT site, and officials are considering “guidance for teachers and staff as it relates to readiness in their classrooms.”
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