By Miguel Hanz L. Antivola

FILIPINO students weighed in on ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by San Francisco-based AI research lab OpenAI that can produce essays and answer questions in seconds.

“ChatGPT has proven to be an invaluable tool for me in many ways,” graduating computer science student Wanders from Davao City said in an interview. “I found it helpful in generating ideas, assisting with research, and providing summaries.”

He said that he uses ChatGPT to organize information and develop ideas, rather than relying solely on the bot to write essays for him. 

Law student Jake from Quezon City said that he has used ChatGPT as a research tool in drafting legal advice for a school requirement.

“It helped me by speeding up the process of generating leads and summaries of US cases which talked about the topic, rather than me manually typing keywords in Google search… I verified the information by looking at the actual case text,” he said.

Meanwhile, AJ, a humanities college student from Quezon City, said that he uses ChatGPT occasionally for idea generation or exploring new concepts, citing inaccuracies as a challenge.

“The responses I got from ChatGPT never made it to the work I turn in… After I get a grasp of something using AI, I go on actually engaging with the texts. I find that most results from AI are inaccurate,” he said. 

“There is this one time that I’m looking for sample academic essays on a very specific topic. After getting interesting results, I asked ChatGPT to provide me with external links so I could see them for myself. They gave me fake links to academic journals. I’ve also seen posts about ChatGPT making up citations that don’t exist.” 

Some educators have become more cautious about academic dishonesty, as they have noticed an increase in the use of ChatGPT and other AI tools by students for their assignments. 

“They expressly prohibit consulting AI bots in exams. Our exam outputs are subject to AI detection services in order to uphold academic honesty,” Jake, the law student, said.

Elementary school teacher Bea said, “In our school, we acknowledge the use of ChatGPT. However, we are against it because it is still considered plagiarized work.” 

ChatGPT can be thought of as an automatic text summarizer rather than a tool that plagiarizes,said Ralph Vincent J. Regalado, chief executive officer and founder of Senti AI, a local AI solutions and services company. 

AJ, the college student from Quezon City, said that AI can only supplement information and optimize processes at best, recognizing that it lacks “human sensibilities,” 

A cautious outlook on AI in Philippine education grounded students and educators alike.

“AI definitely does not have a human touch to it, but considering how rapid technological advancements are unraveling, it is indeed something to be wary about,” AJ said. 

“ChatGPT will surely continue progressing speedily. Its development will not be hampered by state measures. I think the burden rests on academic institutions to implement measures that prevent its abuse and misuse,” Jake said. 

For his part, Wanders, the college student from Davao City, said: “It is essential that all stakeholders work together to find a way forward that balances the benefits and risks of AI technology in the academe.”

Mr. Regalado, the AI expert, offered a different view, “I do believe that we shouldn’t shy away from using new technologies to improve how we do things. Teaching students how to properly use tools such as ChatGPT for research… can definitely help them adjust to the changing landscape once they leave school.” 

He stressed the need for human intervention in AI development for a sustainable future, citing “human in the loop” and the importance of input quality in AI output. 

“Depending on the course objectives, students can be encouraged to use ChatGPT for school work as a supplementary resource, learn to use it wisely and validate the content it generates. When in doubt — turn to your teachers, and use your own critical thinking skills,” he said. 

He also said that educators should make it a point to instill academic honesty, critical thinking, and creativity when students use AI tools for their school work, alongside clear policies with appropriate consequences if improperly used.