by Cynthia Tran
LOS ANGELES — Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been gradually integrating into our daily lives as technology has increasingly advanced throughout the past few years. The face of AI varies, but their purpose and abilities are all the same — to serve as a virtual assistant that answers to any question at any time. AI has been a controversial topic since its inception, but its increased use in educational settings brings up a series of new issues to tackle. With the recent arrival of AI tools such as ChatGPT and Snapchat’s personal AI, however, companies are seeking to portray AI as something positive and helpful.
Created by the research company OpenAI in November 2022, ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that lets people enter prompts and questions, answering with human-like dialogue and written content such as essays, poems and songs. Whatever you ask, ChatGPT will do. ChatGPT uses algorithms and language models to find patterns, predict words and formulate human-trained responses based on its users.
ChatGPT’s automated answers are useful, but its ability to write content like essays and papers allows students to plagiarize and cheat in classes, leading to ChatGPT’s ban in many classrooms across the country. Despite its negative reputation in school settings, some instructors and students have a different perspective on the use of ChatGPT.
For example, UCLA Russian literature professor Vadim Shneyder prohibited the use of ChatGPT on class assignments, but planned to incorporate ChatGPT into the final project, stating that “The final project will involve working with the AI chatbot ChatGPT to demonstrate your understanding of Tolstoy’s works and ideas.” Shneyder acknowledges that even ChatGPT’s extensive knowledge and abilities have limitations, wanting his final project to show his students that ChatGPT should be used as an educational tool instead of a replacement for learning.
In February 2023, the social media platform Snapchat also released an AI chatbot called My AI. Like ChatGPT, My AI also has the purpose of generating answers and human-like dialogue to converse with users. Unlike ChatGPT, which can answer a wider range of prompts, My AI mostly answers simpler, more personal questions to serve as a chat companion rather than a productivity tool.
According to Snapchat, “My AI can recommend birthday gift ideas for your BFF, plan a hiking trip for a long weekend, suggest a recipe for dinner, or even write a haiku about cheese for your cheddar-obsessed pal”. My AI also has its own Snapchat avatar, making it more user-friendly and personable to appear more like an “AI friend.”
While My AI may not have the advanced abilities that ChatGPT does, it provides users a more personal experience in a welcoming interface.
With recent AI innovation, new views on AI are being formed. AI is a technology that can be useful and helpful—not only something that should be feared. However, by acknowledging the limitations of AI, we can discourage the villainization of AIs like ChatGPT. Instead, we can show people that it is possible to use AI in a positive and ethical way as long as we see it for what it is.