ChatGPT and challenges to academia

Are J&K's academic institutions ready to deal with new challenges that the Intelligence-based chatbox poses to teachers and researchers?
"The use of ChatGPT has become debatable in the academic circles as it has been globally reported that the students in schools and universities are taking advantage of the new AI based technique to write their homework, academic papers and essays."
"The use of ChatGPT has become debatable in the academic circles as it has been globally reported that the students in schools and universities are taking advantage of the new AI based technique to write their homework, academic papers and essays." Special arrangement

ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer), a chatbot developed by OpenAI launched in November 2022, has raised apprehension among the academicians as well as the student community of posing a parallel challenge for the academic institutions.

Despite being in its infancy stage, ChatGPT has become the talk of the town ever since its launch as it has an answer to every query that makes sense. The chatbot also imitates human interaction of the highest intellect.

After its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT got quick attention for its detailed responses and answers across many domains of knowledge.

In view of the concerns raised by the academicians globally, many schools and universities have already imposed a ban on the use of ChatGPT.

In a recent interview, the American philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky described ChatGPT, an advanced artificial intelligence chatbot by OpenAI, as “basically high-tech plagiarism” and “a way of avoiding learning.

He stated that the students instinctively using high technology to avoid learning was a sign that the educational system was failing.

The academicians in J&K have also expressed their concern over the launch of ChatGPT and its use by the students and research scholars because it will be difficult to declare any data or content, obtained from ChatGPT, as plagiarized.

The ChatGPT can scroll so many servers in a very short span of time and the algorithm used by the ChatGPT for creating the content makes the output original.

The use of ChatGPT has become debatable in the academic circles as it has been globally reported that the students in schools and universities are taking advantage of the new AI based technique to write their homework, academic papers and essays.

The former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University Prof Dinesh who is also the adjunct Professor of Mathematics, University of Houston, US in his recent write up argued that the ChatGPT represents an enormous advancement in the field of AI and is going to get better with time. He has also stated that India's policy-makers need to wake up to how we in India can take advantage of these developments and also enter this AI race for our own security and well-being.

As the ChatGPT is in its infancy stage, academics in the Valley have become aware of its impact on the overall academic setup. According to academicians, it will be a challenge for the J&K's academic institutions to deal with ChatGPT and tackle its impact on research work and overall student behavior.

A renowned academician and the former Vice Chancellor of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Prof. Mushtaq Ahmad Sidique terms that Chat GPT as a powerful tool for having all its amazing tools of AI but at the same time he apprehensive of it being misused in different aspects.

"In India PhD is available as a matter of consultancy as in Delhi there are many shops which provide you with a thesis for PhD. You give them your topic and they will give you a thesis in two weeks. So AI based ChatGPT can be misused as well," Prof Sidique said.

Prof Sidique is of the opinion that the role of guide in PhD has increased with the launch of ChatGPT. "If the guide is honest and sincere then CHAT GPT can be used for a better purpose," he said.

He says that onus lies on University administrations to how they will tackle the use of AI for better purpose rather than negativity.

"My opinion is that we should not lose the contact between mentor and mentee because if this contact loses there will be ramifications of it," he says, adding that it will be the responsibility of the University Vice Chancellors and Dean Researches how they overcome the challenge posed by the ChatGPT.

"Every institution should create a cell to monitor the use of Chat GPT as many users are using ChatGPT for research. It cannot be stopped but a mechanism has to come up to regulate it," he said.

The Vice Chancellor Central University of Kashmir (CUK), Prof. Farooq Ahmad Shah admitted that the higher educational institutions were not ready to tackle the challenges posed by the AI based ChatGPT.

"ChatGPt is in the evolutionary stage but concerns will be there to detect the plagiarism. It is evolving but let us hope that tolls will be developed by the higher educational institutions to tackle the challenges," he said.

Prof. Shah said it has been a challenge to have a refined version of the research when the thesis was submitted in the form of hard copies. "Even after that researchers used to submit the research in soft copy which was also a challenge. But now we have softwares available which can detect even a single plagiarised word in a whole research paper. But it took around 20 years to develop the software for it. So, it will also take time to handle the challenges posed by the ChatGPT. It has huge implications and educational institutions should not adopt it blindly," he said.

The University of Kashmir is scheduled to convene a meeting of its academic council on Monday (Feb 20) and where the discussion will be held on AI based ChatGPT.

"We have scheduled an academic council meeting on Monday and one of the agendas is to launch this course in the varsity. We have tried to discuss the issue with faculty of the Computer Science Department and IT department as well," said Dean Research of Kashmir University Prof. Irshad Ahmad Nawchoo.

Vice Chancellor of Jammu University Prof Umesh Rao opines that ChatGPT has come with many challenges for the academic institutions.

"If the Robots get a feeling then the role of a teacher will be in danger. That is why I believe that in the contemporary world, the role of a teacher is to create the interest of the students in the discipline rather than giving a mere lecture. If teachers fail to do it, then our relevance will be in danger," he said.

A noted academician, Prof Tariq Chalkoo who is head department of Physics at GDC Baramulla while talking about the evolution of ChatGPT said it can scroll across so many servers in a very short span of time and give the desired output in a form of a poem, essay or anything on any topic.

"ChatGPT is quite creative and different in that it creates its level of authenticity in terms of human emotions, values, cultures and rationality of thinking needs to be seen," he said.

Prof Chalkoo said ChatGPT was still in its infancy stage and was yet to take some shape but it will definitely need some regulations over the period of time. "The regulations should be on the basis of ethics of the algorithm. You have to keep some restrictions in the algorithm so that there will be preservation of the value system," he said.

About the impact of ChatGPT on research, Prof. Chalkoo said the chatbot can be a big boon for research in certain cases but at the same time the same research needs to be reviewed by the humans to accomplish that whether the output is really rational. "The creators of ChatGPT are still confused about how it should be handled but it is going to pose a parallel challenge to the human brain. Some Universities have already banned it while some are yet to take a call over it. In our case, the government has to pass the regulations over use of ChatGPT as individual institutions cannot do that," he said.

An engineering graduate from IUST Awantipora, Syed Muhammad Najiuallah says that the Chatbot imitates human interaction of the highest intellect. "What's baffling is the fact that it does not only have knowledge but possesses analytical abilities and reasoning as well. It can serve as a humongous tool for students in helping them with their studies etc," says Muhammad Najiuallah.

"Its ability to not only state but explain the same thing multi-dimensionally is unreal. ChatGPT's most significant influence is the rise of various other powerful AI tools in other domains (helpful especially for students) such as Video-based AI, creating presentations from scratch entirely by AI and so many more. However, it does have shortcomings as well."

He said the current model of ChatGPT is developed to have the know-how of all the events and data up to 2021 only.

"Additional inefficacies can be related to it stating ambiguous answers to queries many times. The biggest drawback of such tools, however, is not about their function, but about their influence," he said.

He believes that AI locking horns with humans' thinking ability might turn out to be a battle created by humans against themselves.

"Would students care to polish their analytical ability anymore if they are exposed to such an easy-to-use yet so powerful tool? It can easily be stated as glorified cheating in cases of students," he said.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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