Texas A&M Universities ChatGPT Debate recap


ChatGPT debate flyer. Photo Courtesy of the Political Science Club.

Dante Ortiz and Kellie Heron

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) held a debate hosted by the Braver Angels and the TAMU-CC Political Science Club on April 6th. 

       The debate brought up the ethical implications associated with the use of Chat General Purpose Technology. The resolution was over whether ChatGPT does more harm than good. 

       ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) generator that pulls information from thousands of databases to create its own text once prompted to. 

       Braver Angels is an organization that works to have open discussions with the goal of finding common ground. They have held debates over the past two years throughout ten different campuses, including TAMU-CC. Chandler Skinner, Program Manager of Braver Angels, acted as moderator for the debate.  

       The debate consisted of five speakers, each of which was given one to four minutes to stake their claim on the matter. The audience was then able to ask questions through the moderator, to gain a better understanding of what was discussed. When the speaker was done making their case, the audience could then ask questions through the moderator, Mr. Skinner.

       The first speaker was TAMU-CC student Chlöe Leal, English major and Student Government Association president-elect, who took a stance against the AI generator. She opened with  “ChatGPT only knows the algorithm…[it] doesn’t have critical thought and does more harm.” 

       “How is it any different from Chegg?” asked an audience member.

       According to Michigan Technological University, Chegg is a platform that works by students uploading a question via photograph or text and then an employee of the platform responds to the question.

        “It isn’t peer-reviewed, people can fact-check. It may think it is the right answer,” stated Leal. She went on to say that people should be fact-checking for themselves and not relying on others, as we are able to look over five different resources. “Faculty is responsible,” driving further points that people should be aware of changes in technology and society.

       The moderator asked Leal,  “How much positive versus negative effect?”

       Leal responded, “It’s not the same, this thing writes papers not the same as humans,” as it is not fully developed. “Already using it at its best. If it gets better how does it affect writing, storyboarding… eventually what will it look like? Where do we draw the line?” 

       The second speaker was Abdolazim Rezaei, a PhD Computer Science candidate at TAMU-CC. According to Rezaei, there are “lots of advantages” to using ChatGPT. He notes ChatGPT can be used for programming, but is not perfect as it is still in development. “I believe it’s a double-edged sword. It could be useful in the future, but not now.”

       An audience member then raised the concern of ChatGPT being a possible threat to Computer Science and English majors.

       Mr. Rezaei responded, listing English, Computer Science, and virtually anyone. He goes on to explain other companies are developing technologies. “Google… not sure what stage but are producing similar products, maybe improve other drawbacks [of ChatGPT].”

       There was also the question of citation and plagiarism issues regarding the software. 

       Rezaei responded that he is unsure about the legality of whether a machine should cite its sources. He reiterated that the machine is pre-trained and that it is thought-generated. The Machine doesn’t copy and paste, it presents from itself and what it learns from a huge data set. 

       Katheriene Murphy, the third speaker and a Philosophy Major, spoke in favor of the site. Murphy went on to explain that people should be adjusting to modern technologies and see ChatGPT as a tool. “Ultimately ChatGPT automation frees us up to do what we want to do. [Rather than] put their livelihood on the line.” 

       Another question is posed by an audience member after they explain how at a certain level in education students start to rely on graphing calculators to do the math;  “losing dependency like electronic solve.” How does it correlate with ChatGPT? 

       Murphy responds that if ChatGPT can solve problems of an assignment then perhaps the assignment should not have been made

       The debate weighed the pros and cons of the development of software like ChatGPT, and brought up questions that could possibly affect further development in such software. However, it will take time to tell how this software such as ChatGPT affects the future of AI programs.