The New York City Department of Education has announced that it is restricting access to OpenAI’s artificial intelligence-based chatbot, ChatGPT, in public schools due to concerns that the tool could be used to facilitate cheating among students.
According to a government spokesperson, ChatGPT’s ability to provide quick and accurate answers to a wide range of queries may be appealing to students looking for an easier way to complete assignments or prepare for exams.
However, the spokesperson emphasized that using ChatGPT does not promote the development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in school and beyond.
“We want our students to be able to think for themselves and to learn how to find and evaluate information on their own,” the spokesperson said. “While tools like ChatGPT may be convenient in the short-term, they ultimately do more harm than good when it comes to helping students become lifelong learners.”
The decision to restrict ChatGPT has been met with mixed reactions from parents, teachers, and students. Some have applauded the move as a necessary step to ensure the integrity of the educational process and to prevent cheating.
Others, however, argue that ChatGPT could be used as a valuable learning resource, particularly for students who may be struggling to keep up with the pace of the classroom.
OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has released a statement expressing disappointment with the decision and stressing that the chatbot was designed to be a learning aid, not a cheating tool.
“ChatGPT was created to help students explore and expand their knowledge by providing them with access to information and ideas that they might not otherwise have encountered,” the statement read. “We believe that this tool has the potential to be a valuable addition to the learning process and are disappointed that it will not be available to students in New York City schools.”
Despite the restrictions, ChatGPT remains widely available to students and educators outside of New York City. It is unclear at this time whether other school districts or states will follow New York’s lead in restricting access to the chatbot.
In the meantime, the New York City Department of Education has encouraged students and teachers to focus on developing traditional research and critical-thinking skills, and to use a variety of resources and approaches when tackling academic challenges.
“We believe that this is the best way to help our students become well-rounded, independent learners who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century,” the spokesperson said.