ChatGPT, the OpenAI-powered chatbot that offers informed, sometimes compelling responses to complicated questions, has drawn widespread controversy since its launch in Nov. 2022. It's also sparked an ongoing debate about the ethics of using artificial intelligence to produce content otherwise made by humans.
Many schools in the U.S. have banned it from classrooms as teachers have criticized it for encouraging students to plagiarize.
But both ordinary and prominent people around the world –– from a Russian student to Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds –– have embraced its use. Here are some examples of how people have used ChatGPT globally.
The View From Moscow
A student at the Russian State University for the Humanities who wrote his thesis using ChatGPT was allowed to keep his diploma, despite defying a university policy which bans the platform, Russian state media reported last week.
According to media reports, Alexander Zhadan defended his use of AI to generate his thesis by arguing that he had to translate the entire text from English to Russian –– therefore learning a lot more than those who would pay to have their theses written for them.
“Neither the university nor I have the intention of harming each other, so everything will remain as it was before I published the story,” he said.
The View From Colombia
Juan Manuel Padilla, a judge in Colombia, has drawn controversy for admitting to using the chatbot in deciding whether an autistic child should be granted free treatment with their insurance.
Legal documents revealed that the Cartagena-based judge asked ChatGPT, “Is an autistic minor exonerated from paying fees for their therapies?” to which the bot responded: “Yes, this is correct. According to the regulations in Colombia, minors diagnosed with autism are exempt from paying fees for therapies.”
Although the final judgment was to be expected, some of Padilla’s peers questioned whether AI should be used in legal cases. But Padilla argued that part of his decision was made by following precedents set from previous rulings, and that ChatGPT helped speed up the process.
Speaking to BluRadio last week, he argued that “by asking questions to the application, we do not stop being judges, thinking beings”.
The View From Israel
In a recorded speech at a major cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv last week, Israel’s president Issac Herzog revealed that the opening part of his speech about the country’s impressive technological advancements was written by ChatGPT.
“I am truly proud to be the president of a country that is home to such a vibrant and innovative hi-tech industry,” he said in the ChatGPT-generated speech. “Over the past few decades, Israel has consistently been at the forefront of technological advancement, and our achievements in the fields of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data are truly impressive.”
He also asked ChatGPT for an inspirational quote about the role of humanity in a world of technology to end his speech.
The View From Australia
An Australian Member of Parliament, Julian Hill, warned the public about the dangers of using artificial intelligence in a speech that was partly written by ChatGPT, apparently to prove his point.
Hill, who is the most prominent Australian politician on TikTok, called for an inquiry into the “risks and benefits of AI” –– saying that it could result in plagiarism, job losses, and rampant disinformation.
In his speech, he said that students could be “effectively bypassing the educational process and gaining an unfair advantage,” while teachers are unable to “identify and address cheating.” He then admitted, “I didn't write that,” clarifying that ChatGPT wrote it.
Hill said he asked the chatbot several questions, including, “Please summarize recent media reports about students using artificial intelligence in Australia to cheat and explain why teachers are worried about this.”
The View From Cybercriminals
Cybersecurity researchers at Check Point, a company that provides governments and corporations with cybersecurity solutions, said that some users are using ChatGPT to conduct cyber attacks by asking the chatbot to develop coding skills to create malware.
In one instance, researchers said that underground groups used ChatGPT to construct malware strains described in research publications available online –– therefore allowing hackers with little to no coding experience to generate malicious code and steal information.
The View From Ryan Reynolds
In early January, Ryan Reynolds, Hollywood actor and part-owner of Mint Mobile, asked ChatGPT to write a script for an ad spot.
Reynolds gave the bot a few instructions: The ad had to be in his voice; it had to include a joke and a curse word; and to say that Mint’s holiday sale was still running.
ChatGPT delivered, adding a joke about Reynolds now being the voice customers would hear if they called for customer service. “That is mildly terrifying, but compelling,” Reynolds said at the end of the ad.