AI writing tools – it boils down to how you use it

We have heard much about artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools and how they affect the way students do their assignments and schoolwork.

How are these tools affecting the next generation? Will students use AI, like ChatGPT, to write their school assignments? What’s to stop students from taking advantage of such programmes?

R. Santosh, 10, says he rarely uses such writing tools.

“I believe in authenticity,” he said, adding what the human brain is capable of should not be left to AI.

Yet, Santosh uses ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas for gaming techniques and other random things which do not involve schoolwork. He feels that writing tools can be a source of inspiration for the younger generation.

He has also never been reprimanded or told not to use AI. At his age, there wouldn’t be many areas where he would need ChatGPT.

“I don’t think my friends have been reprimanded either because they are really creative people,” he explained.

In his opinion, ChatGPT and other writing AIs help answer questions, clear doubts and provide information.

He believes that students should not rely on AIs to write assignments and that they should be used as a source of inspiration to spark ideas.

Is the scenario the same for older students? Tan Jun Cheng, who is in Year 8, admitted to using writing AIs for schoolwork but does not over-reliant on it. While he uses it for research, he doesn’t use it to write his assignments.

He uses other tools, such as Bing and Grammarly, to fix his grammar and spelling to improve his quality of writing.

A university student, Laura Mark, has had experiences with AI in her studies. The business psychology final-year student said AI has the potential to help students, but not to the point of cheating.

She said Grammarly is a suitable source to correct students’ grammar and spelling mistakes.

Mark said using AIs to write essays will give teachers an “inaccurate representation of the student’s abilities” and what they can accomplish academically. Writing AIs should be used with “caution” and shouldn’t be overused.

Mark and her classmates have been warned by lecturers several times not to use ChatGPT in their assignments. However, many lecturers have realised that they can’t control or stop students from using AIs, so they ask them to use them carefully.

Constantly using writing AIs can impair the overall quality of education and affect your writing and critical thinking skills, added Mark. This is why educators generally do not encourage writing AIs such as ChatGPT.

C. Aarthi, a 22-year-old medical undergraduate at Purdue University in Indiana, US, often uses writing AIs, specifically ChatGPT, for research and coursework.

“It gathers information from the internet and displays it in an easy and understandable format,” said Aarthi.

It simplifies complex material that helps her see the bigger picture and understand the material better. Moreover, she has also used it to debug Python code.

Aarthi (left) says using writing AIs can be conducive to learning while Santosh believes in authenticity.

“It would be easy to plagiarise from writing AIs, but it is important to use them as resources and not as an easy way out.”

Her university professors discouraged students from using writing AIs, because they cannot detect plagiarism.

Different students have different opinions on writing AIs.

They use them for their needs, such as sparking ideas, summarising information, and so on.

Writing AIs should be beneficial to humankind for the greater good. That was always its purpose. That leaves the responsibility in our hands on how we use them.

To give the younger generation an avenue to express themselves, Twentytwo13 has a dedicated space called Young Voices. If you are a young writer (aged 17 and below) and would like to have your article published on our news website, send your contribution to editor@twentytwo13.my.

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The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.