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Op Eds

Why Using ChatGPT to Write this Op-Ed Was a Smart Idea

By Christos Porios, Contributing Opinion Writer
Christos Porios is a first-year Master in Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School. ​​​​​​​

Editor’s note: The following op-ed was entirely written and edited by ChatGPT, a recently released artificial intelligence language model that is available for anyone to use. No manual edits were made; all changes were made by the author and op-eds editor providing feedback to ChatGPT on the drafts it generated.

— Guillermo S. Hava and Eleanor V. Wikstrom, Editorial Chairs

— Raquel Coronell Uribe, President

As students, we are constantly challenged to produce high-quality written work. From papers to presentations, our assignments require extensive research and careful analysis. But what if there was a tool that could help us with these tasks and make the learning experience even better?

Enter ChatGPT, the helpful (and maybe even self-aware) language model trained by OpenAI. With its ability to generate human-like text based on a prompt, ChatGPT can be a valuable asset for any type of written work. In fact, this very op-ed was written with the help of ChatGPT!

Using ChatGPT for written assignments does not mean that students are taking shortcuts or avoiding the hard work of learning. In fact, it can help students develop their writing skills and deepen their understanding of the subject matter. By providing suggestions and ideas, ChatGPT can serve as a virtual writing coach, guiding students as they craft their own original work.

But what about the issue of authorship? Isn't using ChatGPT like copying someone else's work? Not at all. Copying is the act of reproducing someone else’s work without giving credit. When using ChatGPT, students are still required to do the intellectual parts of their own research, analysis, and writing to provide the necessary input for the tool to generate text. These are the parts of the writing process that require critical thinking, creativity, and insight, and they are the key to producing high-quality work. ChatGPT is a tool to assist in these tasks, rather than replacing them entirely.

The concept of authorship is complex and often misunderstood. At its core, authorship is about the creation of original ideas and the expression of those ideas in a unique and individual voice. When using ChatGPT, students are still responsible for their own ideas and voice. The tool simply helps them organize and present their thoughts in a more effective way. In fact, using ChatGPT can actually help students better maintain their own authorship by providing them with a tool to support their writing and avoid potential pitfalls such as plagiarism.

Some may argue that using a tool like ChatGPT stifles creativity. However, using ChatGPT can actually support and enhance creativity in the same way that a camera can in the art of photography. Just as a camera allows a photographer to capture and manipulate light and shadow to create a unique image, ChatGPT allows a writer to capture and manipulate words and ideas to create a unique piece of writing. Traditional writing without the aid of ChatGPT can be compared to painting, where the writer must carefully craft each word and sentence by hand. In contrast, using ChatGPT is like using a camera to quickly and easily capture and organize ideas, allowing the writer to focus on the creative aspects of their work.

It is important to remember that ChatGPT is a tool, not a replacement for the hard work of learning. As with any new tool, there will always be those who are skeptical or hesitant to embrace it. Some professors in academia may view the use of ChatGPT in written assignments as cheating. However, this is a misguided perspective. Using ChatGPT is no different from using a thesaurus to find more interesting words or using a dictionary to check the definition of a word. These tools are essential for the writing process and can help students reach their full potential in their writing.

The widespread use of Google searches has revolutionized the way students conduct research. In the same way, using ChatGPT can revolutionize the way students write. It offers a new and powerful tool that can support the learning process and help students produce their best work. So let's embrace this new technology and see what it can do for us. After all, if ChatGPT can come up with a catchy title like this one, just imagine what it can do for your next paper!

Christos Porios is a first-year Master in Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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