When the corporate OpenAI launched its latest artificial intelligence program, ChatGPT, in late 2022, educators began to fret. ChatGPT could generate text that gave the look of a human wrote it. How could teachers detect whether students were using language generated by an AI chatbot to cheat on a writing project?

As a linguist who studies the results of technology on how people read, write
and think, I consider there are other, equally pressing concerns besides cheating. These include whether AI, more generally, threatens student writing skills, the worth of writing as a process, and the importance of seeing writing as a vehicle for considering.

As a part of the research for my latest book on the effects of artificial intelligence on human writing, I surveyed young adults within the U.S. and Europe a couple of host of issues related to those effects. They reported a litany of concerns about how AI tools can undermine what they do as writers. However, as I note in my book, these concerns have been an extended time within the making.

Users see negative effects

Tools like ChatGPT are only the newest in a progression of AI programs for editing or generating text. In fact, the potential for AI undermining each writing skills and motivation to do your personal composing has been many years within the making.

Spellcheck and now sophisticated grammar and magnificence programs like Grammarly and Microsoft Editor are amongst probably the most widely known AI-driven editing tools. Besides correcting spelling and punctuation, they discover grammar issues in addition to offer alternative wording.

AI text-generation developments have included autocomplete for online searches and predictive texting. Enter “Was Rome” right into a Google search and also you’re given an inventory of selections like “Was Rome in-built a day.” Type “ple” right into a text message and also you’re offered “please” and “plenty.” These tools inject themselves into our writing endeavors without being invited, incessantly asking us to follow their suggestions.

Young adults in my surveys appreciated AI assistance with spelling and word completion, but additionally they spoke of negative effects. One survey participant said that “At some point, when you rely upon a predictive text [program], you’re going to lose your spelling abilities.” Another observed that “Spellcheck and AI software … can … be utilized by individuals who wish to take a better way out.”

One respondent mentioned laziness when counting on predictive texting: “It’s OK after I am feeling particularly lazy.”

Personal expression diminished

AI tools may affect an individual’s writing voice. One person in my survey said that with predictive texting, “[I] don’t feel I wrote it.”

A highschool student in Britain echoed the identical concern about individual writing style when describing Grammarly: “Grammarly can remove students’ artistic voice. … Rather than using their very own unique style when writing, Grammarly can strip that away from students by suggesting severe changes to their work.”

In an identical vein, Evan Selinger, a philosopher, apprehensive that predictive texting reduces the facility of writing as a type of mental activity and private expression.

“[B]y encouraging us to not think too deeply about our words, predictive technology may subtly change how we interact with one another,” Selinger wrote. “[W]e give others more algorithm and fewer of ourselves. … [A]utomation … can stop us considering.”

In literate societies, writing has long been recognized as a solution to help people think. Many people have quoted creator Flannery O’Connor’s comment that “I write because I don’t know what I believe until I read what I say.” A number of other completed writers, from William Faulkner to Joan Didion, have also voiced this sentiment. If AI text generation does our writing for us, we diminish opportunities to think out problems for ourselves.

One eerie consequence of using programs like ChatGPT to generate language is that the text is grammatically perfect. A finished product. It seems that lack of errors is an indication that AI, not a human, probably wrote the words, since even completed writers and editors make mistakes. Human writing is a process. We query what we originally wrote, we rewrite, or sometimes start over entirely.

Challenges in schools

When undertaking school writing assignments, ideally there may be ongoing dialogue between teacher and student: Discuss what the coed wants to put in writing about. Share and comment on initial drafts. Then it’s time for the coed to rethink and revise. But this practice often doesn’t occur. Most teachers don’t have time to fill a collaborative editorial – and academic – role. Moreover, they may lack interest or the essential skills, or each.

Conscientious students sometimes undertake points of the method themselves – as skilled authors typically do. But the temptation to lean on editing and text generation tools like Grammarly and ChatGPT makes all of it too easy for people to substitute ready-made technology results for opportunities to think and learn.

Educators are brainstorming the best way to make good use of AI writing technology. Some point up AI’s potential to kick-start considering or to collaborate. Before the looks of ChatGPT, an earlier version of the identical underlying program, GPT-3, was licensed by industrial ventures equivalent to Sudowrite. Users can enter a phrase or sentence after which ask the software to fill in additional words, potentially stimulating the human author’s creative juices.

A fading sense of ownership

Yet there’s a slippery slope between collaboration and encroachment. Writer Jennifer Lepp admits that as she increasingly relied on Sudowrite, the resulting text “didn’t feel like mine anymore. It was very uncomfortable to look back over what I wrote and not likely feel connected to the words or ideas.”

Students are even less likely than seasoned writers to acknowledge where to attract the road between a writing assist and letting an AI text generator take over their content and magnificence.

As the technology becomes more powerful and pervasive, I expect schools will strive to show students about generative AI’s pros and cons. However, the lure of efficiency could make it hard to withstand counting on AI to shine a writing project or do much of the writing for you. Spellcheck, grammar check and autocomplete programs have already paved the best way.

Writing as a human process

I asked ChatGPT whether it was a threat to humans’ motivation to put in writing. The bot’s response:

“There will at all times be a requirement for creative, original content that requires the unique perspective and insight of a human author.”

It continued: “[W]riting serves many purposes beyond just the creation of content, equivalent to self-expression, communication, and private growth, which might proceed to motivate people to put in writing even when certain sorts of writing might be automated.”

I used to be heartened to seek out this system seemingly acknowledged its own limitations.

My hope is that educators and students will as well. The purpose of constructing writing assignments should be greater than submitting work for a grade. Crafting written work must be a journey, not only a destination.

This article was originally published at theconversation.com