Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The formulaic bullshit of ChatGPT essays

In their writing, some students use formulaic phrases they think makes writing sound "academic". The ChatGPT essays I have seen exemplify the profound flaws of such a formula-based approach to writing: the bot's broad, simplistic framing of topics amounts to little more than "bullshit" in Harry G. Frankfort's sense ("The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him"). Such bullshit essays don't actually analyze anything. As long as bots can't impersonate thinking rather than just spewing out empty, formulaic bullshit, the main thing teachers have to worry about is students using AI-generated essays to produce hopelessly mediocre work. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 January 2023)

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