How to (and Not to) Use ChatGPT

Mustafa M. Al-Mashhadani
Edited by Roger Yang
Published on
July 28, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers opportunities unrivaled by prior technologies with applications that range from custom computer code writing to completing school assignments. Part of this revolutionary advancement comes with Open AI’s ChatGPT, which quickly surged with its record breaking growth in user base according to Reuters–yet it's important to note that other AI generative platforms (which are defined as systems capable of generating content with prompts) like ChatGPT are being developed, like Google’s Bard. With this development, ethical concerns about the utilization of generative AI have arisen, so let’s establish the circumstances of when generative AI like ChatGPT can be used and when it should not be used.

And before commencing this list, no, this article does not have an ironic twist to it and is not written by generative AI.

When to Use Generative AI

  1. Generating Ideas

ChatGPT can be a great source for generating ideas and providing perspectives unique to your own. Generating new perspectives is an important part of informed decision-making, and ChatGPT can create a variety of perspectives with remarkable convenience and efficiency. This is great considering that gaining perspectives is especially important when trying to make decisions or planning, yet getting different perspectives from others can sometimes be challenging and take a lot of time. ChatGPT can rapidly analyze and expand ideas while providing you with a real-time interactive model where you can ask for requests or ask questions that tailor ideas. 

With the ability to rapidly delve into ideas while implementing different perspectives, ChatGPT is an excellent brainstorming tool, and it could be considered as important as the calculator is to math as it is to planning. 

The role of brainstorming further fits the functionality of ChatGPT as current AI models are not great when it comes to academic writing or solving questions, and are prone to providing wrong answers. By brainstorming, the margin of error in projects or endeavors significantly reduces as brainstorming and planning with generative AI will allow you to verify and input accurate information. 

  1. Language assistance

ChatGPT has the power of writing in multiple languages and commands a strong base in language composition, such as in grammar or spelling. This makes ChatGPT an excellent tool for language learning and writing assistance. 

First, ChatGPT can review your work and provide inputs for improvements just like grammar/spelling checking software. What’s great is that you can even ask it for help in specific circumstances which you may not receive ample help for if you attempt a general search (i.e., a Google search). Take for example the capitalization of a title, where you can ask ChatGPT to capitalize a certain title if you are unfamiliar with capitalization rules, and ChatGPT will even explain why certain words should be capitalized while others should not.

Moreover, ChatGPT has the potential to become a critical aspect in language learning. Already, Khan Academy has developed Khanmigo with ChatGPT-4, where Khanmingo is a tool that teaches individuals and assists in learning and understanding language composition in writing. Also, Duolingo is implementing ChatGPT-4 as well to bolster language learning and allow language learners to converse with the AI in the language more intimately while allowing learners to understand mistakes and improve in a conversational style. 

Even then, language learners do not have to delve into modern AI platforms for language assistance. Even ChatGPT-3 can help you learn languages. For example, users may use ChatGPT to speak in their desired language, and if users do not understand a particular phrase or word, ChatGPT can provide a tailored explanation that aids in language learning. And this all helps in language learning, as one of the hardest parts of learning languages is to immerse yourself in that language, and ChatGPT serves as an excellent tool to experience the language whether it be in conversations or lessons. 

When Not to Use ChatGPT

ChatGPT should not be used to generate writing content (i.e., paragraphs, research, essays, etc.) for several reasons. 

  1. Generative AI has no accountability for the content they write. Although ChatGPT is relatively accurate, it is still very much prone to making mistakes. When people write content, they are accountable for what they state and publish–ChatGPT does not possess this responsibility. This creates problems in that the incentive for accurate information is diminished, and in the 21st century, we know how powerful words can be. Nature magazine has therefore suggested that it is unethical to utilize ChatGPT in generating content and publishing it, as the responsibility of words should always lie on someone who can take accountability for what is stated.

  1. Claiming the work of generative AI as you own is a breach of ethical principles. Even if the work done for ChatGPT is to be checked by an expert and verified, claiming the work of generative AI as your own is considered plagiarism and should be avoided as it does not reflect your work. This does not mean that the work of AI cannot be used. For example, analysis of content and lab results by AI is very much a new asset to scientists around the world which is critical in science; however, once again, this analysis cannot be claimed as your own and should be referenced where appropriate. Exactly how to reference the work of AI is still being debated and figured out, yet a general consensus is that AI cannot be held as an author, as it does not have accountability.

  1. Let’s face it, generative AI is still not good enough in many writing media. Though AI has made significant strides and has shaken the world with its quality, the writing products of AI are truly not all that great when compared to humans. For example, even ChatGPT-4 has failed to pass the Advanced Placement (AP) English exams, which replicate college-level courses. Also, as a writer who has taken AP Language and Composition, I can thoroughly state that the quality expected in an introductory college-level course is significantly more than the quality produced by even the latest AI. There is no doubt though that one day AI will meet expectations, but as of now, AI is just not that good for writing. 

Dangers of Plagiarizing

Copy and pasting content from generative AI is considered plagiarism, and it has significant impacts on individuals and societies alike. 

Plagiarizing from generative AI leaves no room for growth to you. Let’s face it, AI is here to stay, but we still need the skills that AI can replicate. By plagiarizing, individuals leave no room for growth and do not get the necessary practice required to attain or improve skills. Even if certain skills will not be required per se, the ability to ascertain and develop skills will be important, and plagiarizing from ChatGPT stumps this growth. 

Plagiarizing from ChatGPT further sacrifices significant learning opportunities and personal growth. By plagiarizing, individuals miss out on research, analysis, learning, and critical thinking that come with time and effort. Moreover, plagiarism hinders personal growth and the expression of original ideas. 

On-top of personal growth reasons, plagiarism can bring about further consequences, such as:

  • Academic repercussions: Plagiarism in any form can lead to academic consequences that can even lead to expulsions.
  • Ethical concerns: Plagiarizing breaches academic integrity and can reflect dishonesty and a disconcert for principles.  
  • Legal implications: By using AI software and plagiarizing from it, copyright laws may be infringed that may cause legal issues. Moreover, contracts or commissions that involve plagiarism may be concealed or/and lead to legal issues if plagiarism is found. 
  • Reputational loss: by plagiarizing, authors lose credibility for their work whether it be in the past, present, or future. 

ChatGPT: The Next Calculator

Recently, I have been referring to ChatGPT as the “next calculator”. Although I have stated that ChatGPT should not be used for content creation (like in paragraphs, research papers, or essays), this does not mean that generative AI is insignificant. 

When the calculator first came out, it was met with heavy resistance from academic communities. I still remember teachers telling students not to use calculators or google translate even, yet as time passed by, these tools of education become further integrated in how we learn. 

Currently, there’s a lot of fear and panic around generative AI, yet its potential is immense and it's here to stay. It doesn’t mean that the skills ChatGPT can perform will be wiped out. We still need to understand how to add, subtract, and multiply to use calculators, and we still need to understand words in foreign languages to speak those languages. 

With this novel technology, we need to adapt our education and way of life. But we need to also establish transparency in generative AI utilization as well as strong principles of when to use and when to not use generative AI. Until more thorough academic protocols are established, we need to take personal initiatives in maintaining that our work is free from plagiarism and that we strive to better our skills and capacities. 

Find more free resources here!


see more

Blog Articles


Get updates on resources, scholarships, & more 👇

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.