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Will AI Kill College Writing?

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Each time you click GPT-3's “submit” button, the machine learning algorithm pulls from the wisdom of the entire Internet and generates a unique output, so that no two end products are the same.

Credit: Jerome Corgier/The Chronicle of Higher Education

When I was a kid, my favorite poem was Shel Silverstein's "The Homework Machine," which summed up my childhood fantasy: a machine that could do my homework at the press of a button. Decades later that technology, the innocuously titled GPT-3, has arrived. It threatens many aspects of university education — above all, college writing.

The web-based GPT-3 software program, which was developed by an Elon Musk-backed nonprofit called OpenAI, is a kind of omniscient Siri or Alexa that can turn any prompt into prose. You type in a query — say, a list of ingredients (what can I make with eggs, garlic, mushrooms, butter, and feta cheese?) or a genre and prompt (write an inspiring TED Talk on the ways in which authentic leaders can change the world) — and GPT-3 spits out a written response. These outputs can be astonishingly specific and tailored.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education
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