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At This School, Computer Science Class Now Includes Critiquing Chatbots

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Marisa Shuman challenged her students at the Young Womens Leadership School of the Bronx to examine the work created by a chatbot.

Across the U.S., universities and school districts are scrambling to get a handle on new chatbots that can generate humanlike texts and images.

Credit: Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Marisa Shuman's computer science class at the Young Women's Leadership School of the Bronx began as usual on a recent January morning.

Just after 11:30, energetic 11th and 12th graders bounded into the classroom, settled down at communal study tables and pulled out their laptops. Then they turned to the front of the room, eyeing a whiteboard where Ms. Shuman had posted a question on wearable technology, the topic of that day's class.

For the first time in her decade-long teaching career, Ms. Shuman had not written any of the lesson plan. She had generated the class material using ChatGPT, a new chatbot that relies on artificial intelligence to deliver written responses to questions in clear prose. Ms. Shuman was using the algorithm-generated lesson to examine the chatbot's potential usefulness and pitfalls with her students.

"I don't care if you learn anything about wearable technology today," Ms. Shuman said to her students. "We are evaluating ChatGPT. Your goal is to identify whether the lesson is effective or ineffective."

From The New York Times
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