ChatGPT: How artificial intelligence affects critical thinking | Opinion

Playing with ChatGPT from OpenAI has been all the rage so far. This online editor powered by artificial intelligence will try to answer your questions with paragraph knowledge, write words or paragraphs from the prompts you have given, etc., with all the answers based on information processed by algorithms.

ChatGPT writes at the level of sophistication of a sixth grader, I must say, and scrapes enough internet knowledge to do so.

Not surprisingly, people are worried about the dangers of ChatGPT: online resources can be very similar to popular content, especially since social media companies have been known to bury some views in others. , including burying some unacceptable facts.

It has already been reported that ChatGPT refuses to answer certain questions, such as the Queen’s talking hours. That response isn’t powered by algorithms, but by the human creators behind it. Some questions, it seems, should never be asked or answered, even with wisdom. In other cases, the answers depend on the roll of the AI ​​dice, so to speak.

I decided to conduct my own little test, and asked ChatGPT the same question – “Can a man change sex?” — 30 ​​times in a row. Three times, the answer is no. Seven times, the robot said yes, and 20 times it didn’t say anything about gender but explained how to change gender. Most importantly it wasn’t until my 18th test that I got a scientifically correct answer, no.

The world is starting to take notice. Schools are now choosing whether to embrace ChatGPT or be viewed as a scam. Artists argue, as words and images are created because of the interpretation of human actions. Their work may be simpler and may not be good for the people. The problem is, people are also turning ChatGPT into a kind of ouija board, asking AI what they should do in their situation, such as leaving a spouse.

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There is an important question here, though. With the advent of ChatGPT, there has been increased talk of the Western world moving into a “post-literature” era. We’re 40 years younger in America in terms of how young people read for fun, according to Pew Research. Bosses complain to their junior employees that they don’t read emails – even work emails – anyway. Universities are lowering requirements for standardized test scores as well as applicants’ resumes. Short TikTok videos and 280-song tweets are cheap and reduce the daily costs of generation. A high school student told a writer “I should be on TikTok, because Andrew Tate, because it’s not here or there if I write a book because his generation won’t read it. “

It’s hard not to see the post-literate Western society as the arrival of a new kind of Dark Ages. Although historians argue that the Dark Ages were still dark, what we do know was that the knowledge, learning and intellectual skills developed during the golden ages of Greece, Rome and Arabia were largely lost to the generation growing up in war and destruction. Currently, these things are missing out on our advances in technology – but the impact is just the same.

What’s missing? First, the younger generation does not give knowledge to memory; what will they do? The internet is their memory. But if you don’t have a lot of knowledge stored in your mind, you can’t think well. For example, I remember a colleague telling me that students in our major in international affairs don’t need to know where Afghanistan is on a map because they can just Google it. . I argue that if you don’t know where Afghanistan is and the people around it, you can’t imagine the advanced level of Afghanistan.

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Also, I can prove this, it’s not that the students don’t know what the people around Afghanistan are – they don’t know what the country of Afghanistan is.

And if you outsource your personal knowledge base to Google or AI, you might not get any real information, like my little experiment. The line between fact and opinion, which is still being debated, is now being offered to disappear. How reliable ChatGPT says depends on the part of the internet that was shaken at a given time. And that depends on what social media companies emphasize, and what they bury. The idea that we seek a truth that exists independently of our perceptions may seem strange and naive. So much for the Renaissance.

Second, the message is lost. The traditions that made our society so rich are gone. If I use the phrase, “Ask not what your country is doing to you,” most of my students don’t know that JFK is the person who killed that phrase. If I were to say, “Blessed are those who make peace,” many of my students would not know that Jesus Christ said it. And never mind the Shakespearean story.

Third, deep reading and critical thinking skills are missing. The most important arguments cannot be explained in 280 characters. These debates are not only deep, but broad, varied, and multifaceted. And in that wealth one can think critically, as one dives beneath the thin surface of an argument to its complex roots to see where the weaknesses lie. In our time, we know very little, because all aspects have been lost. Of course, even the debates on controversial issues, where critical thinkers hear each other’s opinions, are now cursed because they are superficial, what is there to argue about?

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Finally, the combination of all these things creates extreme ideas that are separated from reality, but these in turn create fanatics who are ready to tear apart those who oppose them. seek wisdom. The new video from McGill University, where a debate between two professors was canceled by protesters, is instructive, as is this video from Yale where another debate was canceled by protesters. This is the public law.

All of this means that those who regularly read and practice critical thinking skills are more likely to be unable to communicate effectively than those who don’t.

Some have suggested that the only way forward is to follow the oases of the past from the Dark Ages: monasteries — specifically, offline, hard-copy repositories of the world’s knowledge that can be resurrected by its guardians. when the Dark Years are over. . A more recent example is the Cold War-era Air Force Academy, an underground education system to keep critical reading and critical thinking skills alive during the Soviet era. I do my little bit by asking my students to memorize a world map with important historical facts, figures and dates.

I’m done talking – see if you can figure it out. “Do not go quietly into that good night … Angry, angry, to the death of the moon.” In your own way, however you can, keep the light alive in these new dark times.

Valerie M. Hudson is a distinguished university professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and a regular contributor to the Deseret News. It was his own opinion.


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