The Impact of ChatGPT on Undergrads: Opportunities and Challenges

ChatGPT

By YANG, ZI HAN, Asia Correspondent, The European Business Review

From writing polite emails and correcting compositions, to summarizing lengthy papers and arranging travel itineraries, ChatGPT is already an indispensable part of our lives. However, with the increasing role of AI in education and the workplace, there are concerns over whether ChatGPT will diminish motivation to learn, and whether it will replace certain jobs altogether. Our Asia Correspondent Zi Han Yang tells us more.

Introduction

“Alright, that concludes today’s class. Remember to submit your after-class thoughts to the discussion page by 9 pm.” The professor announced, just as the bell rang. “Oh, and one more thing. One of the essays handed in last week was written by ChatGPT – yes, I’m talking about you. Please redo it and hand it to me next week. I can tell.” An amused smile played on her lips.

It was back in February when I first realized that ChatGPT was going to become a significant part of our lives. While I was aware of its launch and had heard hosts on the HBR network discuss it, I had dismissed it as just another state-of-the-art artificial intelligence that promised to change the world like its predecessors. I assumed that the world it would change wouldn’t have much of an impact on me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. As I now realize, ChatGPT has the potential to impact our lives in numerous ways, both big and small. It has the ability to enhance our communication, improve our productivity, and revolutionize the way we interact with technology. ChatGPT is not just another tool, it is an integral part of our future.

Me and ChatGPT

Currently, ChatGPT has become an indispensable partner in my daily life. It is like an almost omnipotent assistant that can help me with various tasks, such as writing polite emails to professors, correcting my Japanese compositions, summarizing lengthy papers, and even arranging travel itineraries. The versatility and convenience that ChatGPT offers have made it an essential tool for me, and I would be reluctant to back to a time before its existence.

By taking care of trivial and highly routinized tasks, ChatGPT has reduced my workload, allowing me to spend more time on creative endeavors such as putting my thoughts into words and engaging in recreational activities. This has been a game-changer for me, as I can now focus my energy on more brain-consuming activities that require more creativity and originality.

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Impact on Higher Education

Undoubtedly, the launch of ChatGPT has presented a significant challenge for education. Teachers and professors are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate between assignments completed by students and those done by artificial intelligent chatbots. Additionally, there is a growing concern that ChatGPT may diminish students’ motivation to learn, as it provides easy access to answers for almost everything.

During a discussion on the HBR Network podcast, Afterhours, the hosts shared varying opinions on ChatGPT’s role in the classroom. However, one viewpoint that resonated with me the most was that instead of eliminating ChatGPT from education, we should utilize it as a tool. The hosts argued that ignoring the existence of ChatGPT and prohibiting students from using it is unrealistic, akin to asking them to do complex calculations without the aid of a calculator.

Actually, teachers are already embracing this new tool, “ChatGPT is my best friend now, it helps me with generating class activity materials. I even name it Chatler.”, a high school teacher told me.

Interestingly, one of our professors took a similar approach and required us to use ChatGPT for an assignment related to designing English lessons for high school students in Taiwan. The tool proved to be highly useful and efficient since it could generate essays and conversations using specific sentence patterns and vocabulary with ease. This experience reinforced the idea that technology, when properly utilized, can enable educators to shift their focus towards more significant tasks, and thus enhance the students’ learning experience. Actually, teachers are already embracing this new tool, “ChatGPT is my best friend now, it helps me with generating class activity materials. I even name it Chatler.”, a high school teacher told me.

Impact on the Labor Market

ChatGPT has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the labor market, but human jobs are not that easy to replace.

Following the viral of ChatGPT, articles titled “xx jobs that are going to be replaced by ChatGPT” pop out almost every day. As one who has taken some translation and interpretation courses, seeing “translator” sitting on top of the list gave me mixed feelings. (Some experienced translators laughed this off, “We hear that on a daily basis since the launch of Google Translation.”)

That being said, ChatGPT can automate certain tasks and make certain jobs more efficient. Jobs such as customer service representatives, content creators, translators, data entry, and researchers are likely to be impacted by the increased use of AI and automation. However, some highly repetitive jobs such as accounting are not yet fully accessible to AI tools for legal reasons.

For example, prior to the development of advanced AI chatbots, a significant portion of customer service was performed by prerecorded human voice assistants, but human staff is still essential for solving certain problems. Similarly, computer-assisted translation has been around for a long time, but human translators are still indispensable for pre and post-editing to ensure accurate and natural translations. Similarly, while ChatGPT can generate content that is on par with human quality, human revision is still necessary to fact-check and improve the readability and overall quality of the content. The human touch is important for refining and enhancing the quality of these tasks.

While ChatGPT can generate content that is on par with human quality, human revision is still necessary to fact-check and improve the readability and overall quality of the content.

According to a Bloomberg columnist, she once requested that ChatGPT write a column in “Bloomberg style,” and it did an excellent job, even using the same example she provided to illustrate the topic. However, as with translation, human revision is necessary not only to fact-check the generated content but also to improve its readability and add humor, making the reading experience more enjoyable for the audience.

One of the concerns regarding the rise of ChatGPT is whether its ability to lower the cost of content creation will result in an overwhelming amount of content of uneven quality, such as spam emails and fake news.

Conclusion

In conclusion, ChatGPT has demonstrated remarkable capabilities that have made it an invaluable tool for many people. By automating routine tasks, ChatGPT allows us to focus our energy on more creative and original activities. Although ChatGPT has the potential to enhance and automate many types of work, it is unlikely to replace most jobs in the near future. While entry-level jobs in certain fields and entry-level skills may be impacted, higher-level skills and education will remain essential. Just as the development of calculators and spell-check did not render those skills obsolete, ChatGPT is a tool that we should master and use to our advantage. We must adapt and evolve alongside the era of AI.

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