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The DOE Blocks Popular Essay-Writing AI Chatbot on School Networks

New York City students and teachers can no longer access ChatGPT, the new artificial intelligence powered essay-writing chatbot.
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Brooklyn Tech is just one of several NYC schools to block CPT. Photo: Google Maps.

New York City students and teachers no longer have access to ChatGPT, reports The Brooklyn Eagle. The artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that produces high-level scholarly writing has been blocked on all school devices and networks.

“Due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content, access to ChatGPT is restricted on New York City Public Schools’ networks and devices,” spokesperson Jenna Lyle said.

“While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success.”

The program, created by OpenAI, uses machine learning to create nearly perfect essay responses to various educational prompts. The new technology now threatens educators who rely on writing and grammar skills to teach their classes.

The ban will disable access to the chatbot in some instances. But, students will still have access to the site on non-education department devices or internet networks. Individual schools can still request access to chatbot if they’re planning to study the program's technology, a department spokesperson added.

It’s unclear how many other districts are considering banning ChatGPT. But many are sure that move from the nation’s largest school system could well influence how other schools respond.

However, despite the ban, Adam Stevens, a longtime history teacher at Brooklyn Tech, believes that blocking the program is counterproductive. He compared the fears now swirling around ChatGPT to those that emerged around Google and said that the program could prove useful.

“We’ve trained a whole generation of kids to pursue rubric points and not knowledge,” Stevens said.

“And of course, if what matters is the point at the end of the semester, then ChatGPT is a threat.”