How should universities respond to robot writing?
“At one end of the spectrum are ‘the accommodators’ who see the inevitable rise of AI and conclude that fighting it is pointless. But this is a false dichotomy”
The arrival of automated essay-writing software has sent shockwaves through the global higher education sector. Academics and administrators are urgently debating how to respond to a technology that could make cheating a run-of-the-mill, free, and potentially acceptable behaviour for millions of university students.
Just last year Australia’s higher education regulator, TEQSA, was busy blocking access to scores of essay mills – websites that offer to write essays for students – usually for a few hundred dollars, with turnaround times of 24 hours to two weeks. That response now feels like it came from a bygone era, in the face of the game-changing ChatGPT, the new AI algorithm that can respond to nearly any prompt by spitting out original text right before one’s eyes.