The New York City (NYC) education department has decided to block access to OpenAI's ChatGPT on school devices and networks, Chalkbeat has reported. Rather than adapt to new technology – which is here to stay – the education department decided to block access to dissuade from its use. The reasons for the block are numerous, authorities are concerned that the information may not always be accurate and that students may be using the technology to write their essays.
Since its launch, ChatGPT has had filtered put in place to ensure it only replies to safer requests. While this does prevent some of the abusive uses of the technology, ChatGPT can spit out wrong information at times, especially when it comes to maths. It also thinks it’s still in 2021 as that’s when its learning period ended and it has no connection to the rest of the internet.
“Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content, access to ChatGPT is restricted on New York City Public Schools’ networks and devices,” said education department spokesperson Jenna Lyle. “While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”
Since ChatGPT’s launch several weeks ago, people have been speculating how it and technology like it will affect education. While education departments may evolve their curriculums in the future to account for artificial intelligence advancements, it seems in the short term that they are just going for the ban option.
While the block may deter students from accessing the powerful AI at school or on school devices, it’s not likely to deter those on their home networks who have homework to complete. In the medium- to long-term, it’ll probably be prudent for education departments to accept that AI is here and adapt their curriculums accordingly.
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