When tasked with a personal writing assignment, Eva Sharma learned just what the “artificial” in artificial intelligence means.
Like many teenagers, I’m drawn to technologies that make life, and particularly school, easier. Teens around me lean on AI resources such as “ChatGPT” to aid in essay writing and overcome their writing barriers. I did the same–until recently.
Early last summer, I crammed a farewell speech the night before my brother’s graduation party. I had put off writing the speech because I felt that I could never write it well enough, never balance all the tones of a great speech, and never please every audience member. Within the first few minutes of scrapping all of my ideas, I inevitably logged into my ChatGPT account, feeling that whatever it cooked up within milliseconds would be better than what I could muster within many hours.
After typing my prompt into ChatGPT’s search engine, it did, in fact, produce high quality writing. But the writing didn’t feel right, didn’t feel human. While scrolling through the auto generated speeches, I noticed that some of the responses were broad and superficial while the others included fake experiences, like “I will always remember how my brother loves loading up his pancakes with syrup”, or “When you come home from college I’ll make sure to beat you in Mario Kart.”
In reality, my brother and I prefer playing One-on-One basketball in the front yard, and he hates pancakes. Suddenly all these memories of us flooded through my mind, memories that technology could never compute. When we couldn’t sleep at night, we would sneak downstairs to watch a movie. Or how every summer I tried to impress my brother by making mock-tails out of whatever I could reach in the fridge.