Why Should Students Stop Using ChatGPT to Write Essays?
The introduction of generative AI technology to the public with the release of ChatGPT caused an uproar in the academic community. Even six months in, schools and professors are scrambling to catch up with the technological revolution that threatens to make traditional essay writing assignments obsolete. Many consider ChatGPT essay writing the biggest threat to the education system since the dawn of online essay writing services.
However, there are other takes on the issue. John Milovich, the founder and editor-in-chief of ScamFighter, one of the best essay review services, shared his insights with us.
Who Is John Milovich?
John explains that he started Scamfighter.net as a way to help students avoid fraud. As the name of the platform suggests, ScamFighter seeks to bring dishonest writing services to light so that college students keep their money and school records safe.
But what makes John the expert? He openly admits to having used writing tools and services. Moreover, he signed on as a freelance writer to a few essay mills in his starving student days. As a result, he knows the industry inside out and knows what to look for when it comes to differentiating between legitimate academic assistance services and scammers.
Will ChatGPT Put Essay Mills out of Business?
According to John, some writing companies noticed the drop in their order numbers since students started to find new and creative ways of how to get ChatGPT to write an essay at the beginning of 2023. At the same time, the pendulum is now swaying in the other direction, as students have discovered all the troubles that come with a ChatGPT essay.
AI Detectors on the Prowl
Just as plagiarism checkers helped professors unmask students using ready-made papers found online, AI detectors like GPTZero made a quick appearance to address the surge in AI-generated essays. Still, as with all new technological advances, there is a catch. Nearly every operating ChatGPT essay checker relies on perplexity and burstiness metrics to identify AI-generated content. However, both parameters can be relatively low in academic writing, which is why AI detectors keep recognizing the US Constitution and the Bible as generated texts.
Moreover, as John points out, AI detection services are biased. They produce a higher number of false positives when analyzing texts written by non-native English speakers. This has already resulted in scandals across US schools, where professors failed whole classes for suspected use of ChatGPT. As a result, local and exchange students now have to go the extra mile to avoid being accused of using AI for writing.
(Un)Usable Generated Responses
When it was first launched, people were instantly divided into two camps. The optimists published hundreds of videos and tutorials on how to use ChatGPT to write an essay, launch a business, or make dinner. The pessimists prepared for an AI attack on their job security and livelihood. However, as time went by, more and more users began to see the drawbacks of the technology. Not only is OpenAI extremely close-mouthed about the algorithm and materials used in ChatGPT training, but the model is clearly losing its touch. Within a few months, it lost the ability to solve simple mathematical problems, and its writing has deteriorated, as well.
John Milovich shared his experience with trying to use ChatGPT to write essay:
“Every time I come up with a topic, it’s usually something relatively recent, like the strikes in Hollywood, forest fires, or the Presidential race. But as we all know by now, ChatGPT cannot handle current events, because it supposedly doesn’t have access to relevant data. At the same time, it doesn’t cite references or provide active links. So I have to fact-check everything it gives me and find relevant citations, which takes more time than writing the paper from scratch.”
At the same time, John isn’t overly impressed with the writing style, either:
“I’m no AI expert, but I guess the model produces an average of millions of publications that were used to train it. And we all know what the Internet has become. So I’m not surprised it cannot produce an essay that actually reads like an academic work. Most of the time, I get bland recycled ideas that barely touch on the subject.”
As more AI-generated content goes live across the Internet with no clear tag identifying it as a product of generative models, the writing quality is bound to plummet. Researchers have already shown that most algorithms do not survive being trained on generated content for long.
The Silver Lining and the Way Forward
Some students still hope that an email address and strong password to create an OpenAI account is enough to get out of college homework. Those who cannot be bothered to edit and rewrite the generated content get in trouble, losing faith in the ability of ChatGPT to write essay-level content.
But John believes there’s still hope for students. “Like services we review on the ScamFighter website, ChatGPT is not a magic answer to all your problems, it’s a tool. And you need to learn how to use it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a user manual, and constant updates make existing advice obsolete pretty fast. Still, I think there’s some merit to it, even if it’s just to see that AI cannot actually replace humans, for now. That sure helps me sleep at night.”
At the same time, John believes that the introduction of ChatGPT may finally encourage the education systems worldwide to adopt real changes. After all, while mastering writing is an important soft skill, schools may want to dial back on the number of essays and come up with more creative assignments to assess understanding and retention.
In the meantime, students who decide to use human academic assistance instead of trusting the soulless machine should start with ScamFighter. The platform may not produce an essay in seconds, but it will share insight into the writing industry, highlight reliable services, and warn about potential scam risks.
By the way, ScamFighter does not use ChatGPT to collect information, generate reviews, respond to comments, or write blog posts.