Illustration by Jonah Ng

For better or for worse? ChatGPT set to change the future of our society

March 6, 2023

After its release in November 2022, ChatGPT has gained enourmous attention, both positive and negative. While some are optimistic for its impact on the future, others believe it will be a detriment to education and society.

We took a look at both perspectives, but first the Wire went straight to the source and asked ChatGPT what it thinks.

Text Generated by ChatGPT:

The development of ChatGPT, a large language model created by OpenAI, has been a game-changer in the field of natural language processing. ChatGPT has the ability to generate human-like responses to natural language input, making it a valuable tool for businesses and organizations around the world. Its applications range from chatbots to customer service to language translation, and it has the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate with computers. The secret to ChatGPT’s success lies in its training process. The model was trained on a massive corpus of text from the internet, including books, articles, and websites. By analyzing this data, ChatGPT was able to learn the patterns of human language and generate responses that sound like they were written by a human. This breakthrough has the potential to transform the way we interact with machines and automate many aspects of our daily lives. Experts predict that ChatGPT will continue to evolve and improve in the coming years, becoming even more sophisticated in its ability to understand and respond to natural language. As businesses and organizations continue to adopt this technology, we can expect to see more personalized and efficient communication between humans and computers. The future of natural language processing is bright, and ChatGPT is at the forefront of this exciting development.

Below, our op-ed writers’ two head-to-head takes on the pros and cons of a future with AI-driven writing technology:

How can we use ChatGPT correctly?

Artificial Intelligence has become synonymous with dystopian, robot-controlled futures and computers who become alive and begin attacking. But in reality, our future alongside AI is not that bleak. If used responsibly in a controlled environment, AI can enhance and transform the way we live. 

As ChatGPT and other AI-driven technology becomes more involved in our day-to-day lives and its database of information continues to grow, it’s important to understand how we can work with it and use it to our advantage. 

While the official website for ChatGPT is currently blocked on West Essex chromebooks, administrators say the school understands it’s not feasible to keep students from it forever. Its prominent presence is better utilized as a learning opportunity.

Figuring out when its use is appropriate is part of the way that AI is going to change our minds for the better.

“My plan is not to keep it blocked from your Chromebooks indefinitely,” principal Caesar Diliberto said. “Eventually, we’re going to have to navigate it in a real way and open it up.”

Many students agree that ChatGPT should not be banned from school for good; 65.8% of students vote that ChatGPT and other AI should be accessible in school. 

“To keep with the times and help students learn at an accelerated pace, we should allow and actively encourage students to use their resources such as ChatGPT as effectively as they can,” a student poll-respondent said. 

Navigating this rise in AI will have many challenges, but as long as ChatGPT becomes a tool to enhance rather than a crutch, it won’t be as scary as it seems. 

As with any new tool, there will be a learning curve in understanding when to use ChatGPT and when not to. But figuring out when its use is appropriate is part of the way that AI is going to change our minds for the better.

“I think students should just know what it is best suited for,” AP Computer Science teacher Dean Ratajczak said. “But I think that just makes you a better thinking, a better learner, a better individual: to know and be able to decide what’s most appropriate.”

Of course, ChatGPT should not be used in place of completing work, but for more mundane tasks or complicated questions, it can make topics easier for students to digest and understand. It can make complex concepts simpler without becoming a substitute for thinking. Many at West Essex agree. 

“We all have calculators readily at hand, but I don’t think they have replaced the need for learning multiplication tables,” said Mike Johnson, district network administrator. “I see ChatGPT in this way.”

“Because of all the knowledge it has and the algorithms that it has created, it can solve something way faster than the human mind can,” Ratajczak said. 

And not to be overlooked, ChatGPT can be fun. It can serve as an instant search engine that can provide quick answers to serious and frivolous questions alike, eliciting a quick laugh and jaw drop at the incredible sight of a computer spitting out human-like answers in a split second. 

AI isn’t new, and it surely isn’t going anywhere; we’ve seen its influence in art, photography and more. ChatGPT is only the next technology in a conveyor belt of inventions that will transform the future of education and the workplace. While it may seem scary at first, we must see AI for what it is: innovation. Innovation that is going to require us to think differently about the jobs and tasks we assign. But also, innovation that is going to change the way we live, with the potential to streamline processes and solve problems in ways that we never thought possible before.

Behind the Byline
Photo of Eliana Rosen
Eliana Rosen, Editor in Chief
Eliana Rosen is an Editor in Chief of the 2023-2024 Wessex Wire. When she isn’t spending time with friends and family, she is probably listening to Taylor Swift and Noah Kahan on repeat. She spends her summers at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, her home away from home. 


How will ChatGPT harm us in the future?

ChatGPT has taken a prevalent spot amongst controversial topics as it begins to raise questions of integrity both in school and beyond. Its use poses a massive series of problems, namely that ChatGPT encourages laziness and promotes generic work in schools and workplaces, highlighting its downfall to society. 

Despite what many think, ChatGPT does not come up with original knowledge and ideas. It is fed massive amounts of information from an existing set of data and then associates similar words and phrases together to form human-like sentences. It takes one word and searches for high probability words associated with it to generate writing that appears like it makes sense, making readers think it knows what they are asking. 

With this, the software is able to generate what teachers have referred to as “C-level writing” in terms of school writing, obtaining enough quality for students to hand in and still receive a passing grade. While academic integrity is preached in schools, ChatGPT serves as a loophole for students to get by without having to actually do the work. This can be detrimental to learning, especially in English, reading and grammar classes in which students can pay less attention in the classroom and get their assignments done through the website. 

West Essex and many other schools currently have ChatGPT blocked on all school devices, which only prompts students to access their home devices or cellphones instead. It is inevitable that students will use ChatGPT to their short-term advantage, even though it threatens to put them at a huge disadvantage in the long run. Yes, ChatGPT can earn them completion points and give students an easy way out of learning, but it sets them up to learn things the hard way once this writing is no longer acceptable with their level of schooling. 

The issues with ChatGPT, however, extend far past the classroom. It also raises many concerns in the workplace, with questions of whether employees will use this to create emails, pitches, presentations and more. Using generated responses can be very dangerous if important details are left out of writing or incorrectly added, and ill equipped and insufficient responses will start to alienate the companies we depend on for information. 

Overusing ChatGPT to generate writing instead of actually learning to do it ourselves will lead to a society lacking creativity and originality.

“I fear AI being used to simulate journalism in the interest of cutting costs or keeping up with a ravenous 24-hour news cycle,” Mike Johnson, district network administrator said. “A next-level ChatGPT writing news articles would be biased by the information it was fed, would fail to ask investigative questions of the facts it was reporting or could simply misrepresent those facts based on a failure of context in its knowledge base.”

AI has potential, yes, but it’s clearly far too untested and unrestrained to have such a prominent place in society. Overusing ChatGPT to generate writing instead of actually learning to do it ourselves will lead to a society lacking creativity and originality. Schools will lose their challenging nature. ChatGPT also stunts the abilities necessary to completing tasks to that of just maneuvering its website. 

“I think it’s scary that we’ve become so dependent on technology to the point where people can’t even write their own essays,” senior Claudia Marino said. 

Some students agree that ChatGPT can threaten their future as well.

“I think it’s scary when you look to the future for jobs,” junior Marlee Perlmutter said. “So many jobs can be taken over by AI, and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

It’s still unclear what we as a school and we as a society should do with the tech, but ChatGPT and other AI models like it pose far too much risk to be fully trusted.

Behind the Byline
Photo of Gabby Angelo
Gabby Angelo, Editor in Chief
Gabrielle Angelo, but you can call her Gabby, is an Editor in Chief for the 2023-2024 Wessex Wire. She enjoys spending time down the shore swimming in the ocean, eating ice cream and watching the sunsets, and loves anything  "The Vampire Diaries" related! On the weekends you can find her hanging out with friends and family making core memories.  

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