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  • Cynthia

ChatGPT: a friend or foe?

Lately, it seems like everyone is buzzing about the new chatbot called ChatGPT, but what exactly is it? ChatGPT is a revolutionary language model powered by artificial intelligence and developed by OpenAI. It can generate human-like responses to a wide range of questions and topics, making it an invaluable tool for anyone looking to access information quickly and easily. Whether you need help with a difficult problem, want to learn something new, or just want to chat, ChatGPT is there to help. With its advanced language processing capabilities, ChatGPT is changing the way we interact with information, and the possibilities are endless.

In case you didn’t believe this chatbot’s potential, it actually wrote that entire paragraph! On the surface, it seems like a revolutionised version of Google. However, we have not looked at its destructive side yet. So, the key question I want to discuss is whether ChatGPT will enhance human intelligence or replace it?

One benefit is that I find it much easier to access information on ChatGPT in comparison to Google. Conducting a Google search usually gives you a list of articles (many of which are quite lengthy), and you would have to go through them and look for an answer yourself - a time consuming process. On the other hand, ask ChatGPT the same question and you will get a concise and well-written answer. This is because ChatGPT learns from a variety of sources on the internet (such as books, websites, and articles), then processes the data to remove the irrelevant and duplicated information to provide a much simpler answer.

ChatGPT also “learns” how to answer questions from lots of training data. This means that you can ask questions which would be too specific for Google, such as a tricky maths or science question, and get a reasonable answer back. Its algorithm would work out how to solve certain parts of the problem, and then put it together as an answer. Although, there also comes a major problem with this: as ChatGPT is learning through practice, it becomes prone to errors. In fact, there have been many instances where it failed to solve simple arithmetic problems.

Another big problem with ChatGPT is that, since it downloads information from the media (often controlled by the government), the information that it gives you may be biassed. A Chinese computer scientist conducted a small experiment where he asked ChatGPT questions in simplified Chinese, and found that its answers were all in favour of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He then asked similar questions in traditional Chinese (used in Taiwan), and found that the answers were against the CCP. So, while you may think that this is an unbiased and reliable source of information, it has the potential to be controlled by the government.

I do believe that ChatGPT can be used for inspiration. But, after using it to help me answer a subjective question, I became aware that there is a clear line between inspiration and duplication and that I need to be more aware of this when using it in the future.

Recently, I’ve noticed that it’s not only me who’s starting to rely on the chatbot. Many of my peers are increasingly using ChatGPT, whether they’re asking it physics questions or debating with it to prepare for upcoming competitions. I’m not saying that it’s wrong - in fact, I encourage moderate use of this new technology to enhance our own ideas and improve its quality. The big risk of using it too much, though, is that it can start to replace human intelligence. If people cross this fine line between inspiration and duplication, and start to mindlessly copy the chatbot’s answers, then what’s the difference between their words and the robot’s?

Many of my parents’ colleagues are using ChatGPT to help them structure their emails; here, we are starting to see more obvious traces of robots potentially replacing humans in jobs. As global dependence on ChatGPT increases, I wonder - what will happen next? Considering the power that the chatbot’s developers will have, what would be the result if they started using ChatGPT as their weapon? Humanity will certainly be revolutionised by ChatGPT, but the key question remains unanswered: is it a friend or foe?

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