ChatGPT usage may rob students of critical thinking skills, according to Dr. Maren Akong'o, a senior lecturer at Rongo University.
ChatGPT, an Artificial Intelligence Chatbot powered by OpenAI's AI technology, operates by gathering data from the internet written by people and leveraging computational predictions to respond to user queries and questions. It generates replies based on textual inputs and information, continually "learning" more about different subjects and improving its ability to engage in discussions.
"The drawback of using ChatGPT in academia is that it fails to promote critical thinking. Students no longer take the time to think, question, and analyze the information they receive from it. Many of our students lack critical thinking skills. When you ask them a question, they merely scratch the surface without delving into deeper analysis. They are unable to spot or correct spelling mistakes because they either don't know the correct form (due to lack of studying) or they believe computers never make mistakes," explains Dr. Maren.
"We run the risk of having individuals with limited problem-solving skills, lacking the ability to generate ideas, innovations, and new knowledge because everything is done for them. Unfortunately, society today demands problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and innovators. At an individual level, users of ChatGPT should make a critical decision on how they want to utilise it. Is it for personal growth or self-sabotage?" adds the communication expert.
ChatGPT has gained worldwide attention and popularity, receiving both positive and negative feedback. For instance, Italy temporarily banned the service in March 2023 due to concerns about the protection of personal data but later reinstated access. Other countries have also imposed bans on ChatGPT. Nonetheless, it remains an immensely popular tool, setting records for user growth.
It remains an important tool, with internet users praising it for its ability to generate text that mimics human conversation. It proves useful when creating posts for websites or social media pages when time is limited. It also serves as a valuable resource for business, practical information, job research, creative inspiration, and more.
"ChatGPT is always available as compared to teachers, says Purity Kadala, a fourth-year media student. "Students can get answers to their questions when they want."
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