Children ‘allowed to use ChatGPT’ in essays, foundation says

CHINA - 2023/02/21: In this photo illustration, a ChatGPT logo is displayed on the screen of a smartphone with the OpenAI logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ChatGPT has become the biggest talking point in tech. (Getty)

Children will be allowed to use content generated by the AI chatbot ChatGPT in essays, the International Baccalaureate (IB) has said.

The Swiss education nonprofit, which offers alternative qualifications to A-levels, has said that children will be able to use ChatGPT output, but will have to be clear when doing so.

The organisation also said that in response to technology such as ChatGPT, less emphasis would be placed on essays going forward.

Matt Glanville, the IB’s head of assessment principles and practice told The Times: “The clear line between using ChatGPT and providing original work is exactly the same as using ideas taken from other people or the internet.

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“As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography.”

Glanville said that in future, qualifications would focus on essay-writing less due to the disruption of ChatGPT and other tools like it.

But due to the nature of ChatGPT and many authors' failure to disclose they have used it, it is nearly impossible to get a full accounting of how many e-books may be written by artificial intelligence (AI).

ChatGPT's emergence has already ruffled some of the biggest technology firms, prompting Alphabet and Microsoft to hastily debut new functions in Google and Bing, respectively, that incorporate AI.

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The rapid consumer adoption of ChatGPT has spurred frenzied activity in tech circles as investors pour money into AI-focused startups and given technology firms new purpose amid the gloom of massive layoffs.

There are concerns over authenticity, because ChatGPT learns how to write by scanning millions of pages of existing text.

An experiment with AI by CNET resulted in multiple corrections and apparent plagiarism before the tech news site suspended its use.

Glanville said, “Essay writing is, however, being profoundly challenged by the rise of new technology and there’s no doubt that it will have much less prominence in the future.”

“When AI can essentially write an essay at the touch of a button, we need our pupils to master different skills, such as understanding if the essay is any good or if it has missed context, has used biased data or if it is lacking in creativity. These will be far more important skills than writing an essay, so the assessment tasks we set will need to reflect this.”

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