Why can't ChatGPT just write my paper?

Since the fall of 2022, we’ve seen ChatGPT and similar AI-based programs become increasingly popular. Consequently, there have been numerous discussions on the functionality, use, and ethics of such language models.

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The most essential tool in academic writing is your ability to critical reading, writing, and thinking.

But why is it problematic to use ChatGPT?

AI-based language models may seem helpful at first sight, and we know that many students use them in their academic work. If you are using ChatGPT as a tool when writing, there are some aspects you should be aware of:

  • One of the most common uses of ChatGPT is to make it generate a rather lengthy summary of a topic you are interested in. However, you don’t always know where the information is retrieved from since ChatGPT doesn’t systematically present references.
  • ChatGPT tends to “lie”. It may present authors, books, and articles that do not exist, and give information that is made up or outdated.
  • Remember that the text you submit for assessment must be self-written. ChatGPT and similar language models have the ability to produce ready-made text, and if you use AI-produced text in the assignment, it can be considered cheating.

It is therefore important to note that these types of programs are not the solution to your academic writing, but rather a helpful tool when used appropriately.

As with other tools, ChatGPT doesn’t do the job for you, but when used correctly and for a suitable task, it may help you do the job more efficiently.

Last but not least, it is important to remember the most essential tool in academic writing – your own ability to critical reading, writing, and thinking.

When using AI-based programs it should be acknowledged in your paper. The Citation Compass and the APA 7 manual both recently published guidelines on how to properly cite and reference ChatGPT and similar programs.

Good luck with your writing!