ChatGPT, the highly controversial chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, will soon be incorporated into some of the most popular applications used in both K12 and higher education among students, according to recent reports.
The tip first came from an unnamed source cited by The Information, alleging that “Microsoft has discussed incorporating OpenAI’s artificial intelligence in Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and other apps so customers can automatically generate text using simple prompts,” the article reads.
The company has reportedly been using OpenAI’s GPT technology to enhance users’ search results in Outlook, according to The Verge. Microsoft is also said to have looked into how AI can help to improve document change recommendations in Word.
“Microsoft will face many challenges bringing more advanced AI text-generation features to its productivity apps,” according to The Verge. “Chief among them is accuracy. ChatGPT still has a tendency to present incorrect information as fact, which would make any type of document creation or advanced integration difficult.”
At AMD’s CED 2023 press conference earlier in the month, Panos Panay, Microsoft Windows and Surface chief, said, “AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows.”
If Microsoft gives the green light on this initiative, it will pose some major concerns shared by educators and students alike. Most notably, it may serve as yet another resource for students to use to cheat on their assignments.
According to a recent survey by Study.com, an online study and test prep program, more than one-third of educators in both K12 and higher education want the chatbot banned from their institutions.
“My entire department is nervous about the sudden easy access to AI writing tools, and we’ve already seen assignments from our students using it,” according to one educator cited in the survey. “For now, it’s fairly easy to spot, but we’re afraid that it’s a matter of a year or so before we’ll be able to suss out the cheating. We don’t have a plan and are eager to find one.”
For others, the chatbot serves as an opportunity to increase student engagement.
“In the future, we need to lean in as educators,” said Don Killingbeck, superintendent of Hemlock Public Schools, in a recent interview with District Administration. “Because let’s face it. There are people out there thinking, ‘This is bad. It’s everything we told kids not to do.’ People are going to say we shouldn’t be using this and that kids shouldn’t be touching it. The bottom line is in the real world we’ve got to be more productive. You only get 24 hours in a day, so how are you going to make the most out of it? And I think a tool like ChatGPT maximizes that opportunity.”