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Del Mar College professor raises ethical concerns on new AI software

3NEWS even tried logging on to the site earlier, but couldn't -- because the site had already reached capacity.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you're an educator or student, then odds are you've heard of the popular chatbot known as ChatGPT.

The site is capable of writing essays for those who provide it with a few prompts or questions. 

Some educators are concerned about what that could mean for the future of creative writing and free thought. 

3NEWS even tried logging on to the site earlier, but couldn't -- because the site had already reached capacity. 

Del Mar College assistant professor of political science Paul Gottemoller feels that students are going to use the AI no matter what -- suggesting that educators use it as a tool. 

"It can be abused by students and we also have to find ways as educators to use it to help the students to become better writers," he said. 

While Gottemoller sees the potential the software possesses, he also agrees that technology has its limitations.

"If you don't know what's good information and what constitutes a good paper, you won't be able to ask it the right kinds of questions," he said. "Much like a Google search, you have to actually search the correct terms and often times be very specific because that first click isn't going to be necessarily what you want," he said. 

Third grade teacher Nina Hollingsworth uses ChatGPT, not for classroom curriculum, but as an additional tool to support what her students are already learning.

"I was exhausted and it was going to take me forever and a lot of brain power to think of very simple sentences with just a simple subject and predicate, and also correct, but simple compound sentences," she said. "I went into ChatGPT, I asked them for 20 simple sentences and 20 compound sentences, and it was done in 30 seconds. Now were there a couple I didn't love? Yes. So I just took those out."

Gottemoller is actively working to revise Del Mar College's Academic Dishonesty policy. He says artificial intelligence is not the usual offender when it comes to academic dishonesty.

"Students go online and buy a paper from some place. Or they just copy something from Wikipedia. Academic dishonesty we're used to. Some students would have an AI write a paper for them," he said. 

Due to the nature of the situation, Gottemoller is drafting some flexibility in the school's policy. 

"The draft is trying to allow the professor flexibility," he said. "So if a professor wants their students to utilize AI, to help supplement and help essentially support their writing, that is something the professor can do. If the professors don't want any AI, that is something they can say they don't want."

As far as artificial intelligence producing writing that is filled with emotion -- technology is not there yet. 

"We have as a society found ways to adapt around the technology," he said. "To find ways of providing human value because there are certain things that those machines cannot really do."

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