Will AI write your essay for you? Will it write it well? 22-year-old university graduate Pieter Snepvangers discovered that not only will OpenAI’s ChatGPT write a full university essay, but it’ll even write one to a passing grade.
Despite already finishing university, Snepvangers was curious whether OpenAI’s tool could be used by others to cheat their way to the finish line. As it turns out, it absolutely can.
Speaking to Wales Online, the graduate asked OpenAI’s essay generator to write a 2,000 word piece on social policy. Afterwards, Snepvangers sent the finished copy over to a tutor who marked the paper to a passing grade or a 2:2.
The lecturer explained that the copy did not feel like it was written by a computer. However, the essay did read like it was created by “lazy” students. The tutor explained that, while competent, the essay lacked any true analysis or depth found in good quality essays.
“This essay isn’t referenced. It is very general. It doesn’t go into detail about anything. It’s not very theoretical or conceptually advanced,” the tutor said. “This could be a student who has attended classes and has engaged with the topic of the unit. The content of the essay, this could be somebody that’s been in my classes. It wasn’t the most terrible in terms of content."
Snepvangers revealed that the process behind constructing the essay took around less than half an hour. The ex-student gave the AI multiple different prompts that he stuck together without editing sentences.
“All in all, 20 minutes to produce an essay which is supposed to demonstrate 12 weeks of learning,” he said. “Not bad. I nervously sent it off to my lecturer and awaited the verdict."
At the time of writing, ChatGPT is still in its early stages. While it’s already the most popular internet app of all time, the artificial intelligence program still has a long way to go.