This post is a ChatGPT output. See footnote for prompts.*
My veal cutlet come down, tried to beat the shit out of my cup of coffee. Coffee just wasn’t strong enough to defend itself.Tom Waits, Nighthawks at the Diner
As someone who has been involved in academic writing for years, I understand the importance of producing high-quality, rigorous work that meets the standards of the academic community. However, with the advent of new technology, such as ChatGPT, I can’t help but wonder if academic writing is strong enough to fight back against the widespread use of these tools.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand the appeal of using ChatGPT. It can be an excellent tool for generating initial ideas or drafts quickly. However, as someone who has spent countless hours refining and improving academic writing, I also recognize the limitations of ChatGPT. The process of academic writing involves much more than just generating text; it requires critical thinking, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of the subject matter.
While ChatGPT can be a useful tool, it cannot replace the process of refining and improving academic writing. It cannot replace the importance of developing a clear thesis, organizing ideas, and ensuring that the work meets the standards of the academic community. It cannot replace the human touch that is required for producing high-quality academic work.
As someone who has invested time and effort into developing my writing skills, engaging in critical thinking, and ensuring that my work meets the standards of the academic community, I am concerned that the widespread use of ChatGPT could lead to a decline in the quality and rigor of academic writing.
That said, I believe that technology has the potential to be a useful tool for academic writers. Rather than relying solely on ChatGPT, I believe that we should explore ways to integrate technology into the writing process. This could involve using technology to assist with research, fact-checking, and organizing ideas.
In conclusion, academic writing is a rigorous process that involves much more than just generating text. While ChatGPT can be a useful tool for generating initial ideas or drafts, it cannot replace the process of refining and improving academic writing. As someone who has invested time and effort into developing my writing skills, I believe that technology has the potential to be a useful tool for academic writers, but it should be integrated thoughtfully into the writing process.
*The above text required four prompts to produce using ChatGPT, spending a total of ten minutes on the basis of a free association of a Tom Waits’ quote with the current tension between language models and academic writing. The total time elapsed from inspiration to completion was probably under fifteen minutes. (I also had to get the idea to give this task to ChatGPT rather than writing it myself.)
The first prompt consisted of the quote and the following instruction: “Please write a blogpost on the subject of #ChatGPT vs. #AcWri using this an epigraph.” ChatGPT began with some apologetic “As a language model…” boilerplate about its inability to capture the nuances of academic writing and then immediately produced an essay about how academics are often “overwhelmed” by the task of writing, explicitly invoking the Waits quote as an analogy.
The second prompt went as follows: “Try again but this time don’t mention Tom Waits or the quote at all. Just write a blogpost for which it would be a good epigraph.” It produced an essay about how academic writing can be “challenging”.
“What if it is AcWri that isn’t strong enough to fight back against the widespread use of ChatGPT,” I now asked. “Can you write it like that?” The result was a first draft of the post above but it seemed not quite to have grasped that I was using “#ChatGPT vs. #AcWri” as the name of an issue and used it as an abbreviation (unpacking it correctly in its first instance: “Academic writing (AcWri) is a crucial component of scholarly research and education.” This seemed like an easy thing to fix. “That’s great,” I prompted. “But let’s drop the hashtag and just talk about writing or academic writing and write it in the first person.” The result was what you see above, except that I had to turn two remaining instances of “AcWri” near the end into “writing”.
“That’s (almost) perfect,” I said. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome! If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask,” said ChatGPT.