Two Vanderbilt University deans have been suspended after they used the AI chatbot ChatGPT to write a 297-word email to students about the deadly mass shooting at Michigan State University.
Vanderbilt’s Peabody Office of Equity, Diversion and Inclusion emailed students in response to the mass shooting at Michigan State.
But the deans that signed off on the email appeared to have outed themselves for using ChatGPT, because the bottom of the email included a fine-print sentence, which read, “Paraphrase from OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication, February 15, 2023.”
The two deans in question, Nicole Joseph and , have since been instructed to “step back from their responsibilities with the EDI office,” while the university conducts “a complete review” of what happened, Camilla P. Benbow, Peabody’s dean of education and human development, said in a statement.
“The development and distribution of the initial email did not follow Peabody’s normal processes providing for multiple layers of review before being sent,” Benbow said. “The university’s administrators, including myself, were unaware of the email before it was sent.”
ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot developed by the San Francisco-based artificial intelligence company OpenAI. It uses deep learning techniques to analyze and understand the context of a given conversation or question, and can generate responses that seem real and human-like. It has become notorious for its woke leftist bias.
“The recent Michigan mass shootings are a tragic reminder of the importance of taking care of each other, particularly in the context of creating inclusive environments,” the email generated by ChatGPT read, in part. “One of the key ways to promote a culture of care on our campus is through building strong relationships with one another.”
Students were outraged upon discovering that the email was written by AI, rather than the deans themselves. One student called the incident “disgusting.”
“There is a sick and twisted irony to making a computer write your message about community and togetherness because you can’t be bothered to reflect on it yourself,” the student told the Vanderbilt Hustler.
“Deans, provosts, and the chancellor: Do more. Do anything. And lead us into a better future with genuine, human empathy, not a robot,” the student added. “[Administrators] only care about perception and their institutional politics of saving face.”
Another student told the newspaper, “It’s hard to take a message seriously when I know that the sender didn’t even take the time to put their genuine thoughts and feelings into words. In times of tragedies such as this, we need more, not less humanity.”
Joseph ended up sending an apology email to the Peabody community on Friday, saying that using ChatGPT to write the email was “poor judgment.”
“While we believe in the message of inclusivity expressed in the email, using ChatGPT to generate communications on behalf of our community in a time of sorrow and in response to a tragedy contradicts the values that characterize Peabody College,” Joseph said.
“As with all new technologies that affect higher education, this moment gives us all an opportunity to reflect on what we know and what we still must learn about AI,” the dean added.
While Vanderbilt investigates its two deans using an AI tool to write an email to students, other schools are grappling with their students using the same technology to cheat.
As Breitbart News reported on Friday, students in an elite academic program at a Florida high school have been accused of cheating by using ChatGPT to write their essays. Last month, a survey suggested that 17 percent of students at Stanford University have already used ChatGPT on their final exams.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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