I’m briefly emerging from hard work in the application mines to share with you some thoughts from MIT writing faculty on AI-assisted writing.
You’ve probably seen some of the recent news about GPT-3 and ChatGPT, technologies from OpenAI that (among other things) produce impressive natural language text in response to prompts. There has been a tremendous amount of commentary in the popular press (and Discourse™ on social media) about these technologies, and especially if and how they will complicate or obviate the college (or even admissions application) essay, to say nothing of broader supposed implications for all forms of human text generation.
For reasons that will soon become evident, I think most of this is at best overstated. However, it certainly does pose interesting questions for pedagogy, especially those who are focused on writing and teaching.
So I was pleased to see that last week, the Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W) collected some Advice and responses from faculty on ChatGPT and A.I.-assisted writing. CMS/W is where I did my grad degree, and also occasionally teach CMS.614: Critical Internet Studies, a Communication Intensive course designed to help fulfill our Communication Requirement, which was “developed out of the belief that MIT students, regardless of their field of study, should learn to write prose that is clear, organized, and effective, and to marshal facts and ideas into convincing written and oral presentations.” CMS/W is also the departmental home for the MIT Writing and Communication Center (WCC), where accomplished scholars and writers help students strategize about all types of academic, creative, job-related, and professional writing as well as about all aspects of oral presentations. These programs (and the people affiliated with them) have long been influential thought leaders in computational writing as well as the computational assessment of writing,01 Going back at least to when <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Perelman">Les Perelman</a> was demonstrating how the SAT Writing Section could be gamed. and I am happy to see that trend continue.