A 2,000-word essay written by ChatGPT, OpenAI’s disruptive Artificial Intelligence chatbot, helped a student get the passing grade in the MBA exam at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The news was enough to unsettle many students, teachers and university professors. One cannot use plagiarism detectors to ensure originality as the predictive text generated by ChatGPT is unique. Parents, too, got cold feet as tech evangelists predicted that ChatGPT could replace humans and lead to job losses across industries. How should universities and schools navigate this situation? Subhashis Banerjee, head of the department, computer science at Ashoka University, Haryana, feels ChatGPT will be helpful in passing only the exams that test the factual knowledge of students. “We need to deemphasise rote learning and rely more on testing the reasoning of students. I don’t think ChatGPT will be able to replace critical thinking and analysis, which is needed for submitting research papers and clearing entrance exams”.
Choosing a career in post-ChatGPT world
Banerjee opines that if ChatGPT is helping students clear critical exams, it means that the exam setting pattern is not correct. Banerjee is also critical of OpenAI and Microsoft. “It is an incredibly irresponsible act on the part of OpenAI and Microsoft to unleash such a tool in public without considering the ethical concerns around it. I would have released it with a whitepaper detailing the usage of the tool with dos and don’ts. You cannot expect 20-year-old students to suddenly switch careers because of the massive disruption in AI”.
In February, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released a set of guidelines prohibiting the use of ChatGPT, in addition to banning electronic items in examination halls. “If students are smart, then teachers are smarter,” says Kavita Nagpal, vice-president, academics, at Orchids The International School, Gurugram, adding, “I don’t think ChatGPT will help students clear exams because we urge children to hone their thinking skills. The questions can be set in a way that it will force students to think and answer the questions.” The current CBSE scheme requires students to choose between science (medical/non-medical), commerce (with or without math) and humanities in their higher-secondary examination. Is the choice of the students likely to be affected by ChatGPT? Nagpal doesn’t think so. “Children will go towards what they like, regardless. They know where their passions are aligned and they are much smarter than we think.”
Will ChatGPT take away our jobs?
Generative AI’s impact on the job market is yet to be seen. California-based Raj Neervannan, CTO and founder at AlphaSense, a market research firm, that helps professionals make data-driven decisions, feels content writing, marketing and roles that require writing press releases are likely to be most affected. He says, “This is just the initial phase. AI is just getting started. Humans will surely upskill and work with AI to boost productivity. That is what humans do.” Gurugram-based Jaspreet Bindra, managing director and founder at Tech Whisperer Ltd (the UK), a digital consultancy for artificial intelligence, says ChatGPT will lead to losses of some jobs. “If you are writing basic code for payroll or say, short 40-word news updates, ChatGPT will replace it. Low-scale, repetitive jobs are likely to be done by this tool.” However, Bindra says, certain jobs will never be taken over by ChatGPT.
“Jobs that require high creativity, emotion, sentience, compassion such as a nurse or, let’s say, a senior management person making decisions that impact thousands of employees, will not be replaced.” There is a silver lining in all of this, feels Bindra. “ChatGPT and generative AI will also help you do your job better. If ChatGPT is able to write 30 per cent of your code, you can write the rest 70 per cent in less time. For journalists, it can save them time by helping them come up with better ideas and basic story outlines.” In fact, during the interaction with Moneycontrol, Bindra said, “All the questions you asked me in the interview could have been answered by ChatGPT. But you need a human for emotion, summarisation and elocution.”
Using ChatGPT at the workplace
TeamLease HRtech is a human capital management company which helps in automating HR processes at the workplace. Sumit Sabharwal, CEO-TeamLease HRtech, Mumbai, feels ChatGPT can be used by talent-acquisition teams to answer relevant questions about the job description that applicants are likely to have, based on their preferences. “For increasing the employee engagement, generative AI can be integrated with the entire employee life-cycle, surveys as well as town halls. ChatGPT can also be leveraged for designing training programmes specific to every employee, based on their role,” Sabharwal says. Neervannan feels internal communication in a company is likely to be replaced by ChatGPT, too. “Writing mails about appraisals, putting thoughts down and addressing mails to clients will become simpler.”