Ban instituted against ChatGPT by New York schools amidst cheating fears

Jan 7, 2023
Apps, Software

Schools under the New York City Department of Education have elected to ban access to ChatGPT from any school network or device. The move comes amidst fears that ChatGPT will encourage students to cheat and, therefore, not develop their critical thinking and reasoning. Students will still, however, be able to access the utility from their homes and any personal devices not connected to the schools’ networks. 

Chalkbeat New York, a news repository focused on education, reported on the story first. In an interview with Chalkbeat New York, a NYC Department of Education spokesperson, Jenna Lyle, confirmed the reasoning for the ban as the ‘negative impacts (of AI) on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content.’ Lyle elaborated further that ‘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.’

It’s at this point where I need to poke my head out of the tech-writer echo chamber and question the very fabric of human nature. We’re well past the time when schools actively taught critical thinking and problem-solving. Education is now focused on critical race theory and teaching students to be good test takers. Test takers don’t have critical thinking or problem-solving skills that would be beneficial to them for the rest of their lives. Another point is that academia has changed so much in the last 50 years that it’s barely recognizable. I remember a time when we weren’t allowed to use calculators. Now, they’re even used in examinations. Tech influences the way we teach, learn, and experience the world around us. In another 50 years, AI in schools may be so normal and accepted that it borders on boring. 

Ban instituted against ChatGPT


The article that prompted me to write my response was posted on The Verge. In the article, the author notes that there are significant issues with ChatGPT in that it perpetuates stereotypes and prejudices. When did we start ascribing technology with the responsibility to not offend humans? This is software and hardware and coding. This is not a human. ChatGPT doesn’t perpetuate or amplify sexism or any other human prejudice; it simply delivers information it finds on the internet. The provenance of that information, particularly that which offends other humans, is created by humans. 

With regards to the NYC Department of Education, ChatGPT also carries no responsibility to furnish the user with factual information. The user alone carries the responsibility to verify that any information is factually correct. 

While I believe that tools like ChatGPT certainly make it easier for people to cheat due to it being so easy to use, it is not the tool that causes the cheater to cheat. If a student intends to cheat on an assignment, they will find a way. Nonetheless, keeping tech that the majority of people simply don’t understand yet, like ChatGPT, out of learning institutions and general professional environments might be a good idea, for now. 

In the future, I hope to write a deep dive into ChatGPT and other large language models to settle once and for all what these tools are capable of and how they are intended to be used. These are not infallible resources that you should stake your reputation on. Language models are just that; model software and coding intended to facilitate pseudo-human-to-human interaction. Nothing more, nothing less. ChatGPT does not claim to be an expert in anything; therefore, it carries no responsibility for the way users decide to use it. It is not a human; therefore, it carries no responsibility to act, appear, or think as a human does. 


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  1. Weary said on January 9, 2023 at 6:41 am

    gHacks should not be Shaun’s personal political blog.

    It doesn’t matter whether I agree with his views or not. What matters is that now my tech news comes bundled with Shaun’s thoughts on the American culture war. That kind of bullshit is *so* readily available elsewhere on the web. Don’t we all want this site to be a refuge? Do you come to gHacks because you want political polemics?

    I’ve held this site in good esteem for many years. If this is the way going forward, then I’m afraid we’ll have to part ways.

    I’m sorry, Martin.

  2. Oxa said on January 8, 2023 at 1:20 am

    I really feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know the difference between a fact and an opinion. I also feel sorry for know-nothings who spout nonsense about academic theories they know nothing whatsoever about. I pray for such poor morons every night that they may wake up and become enlightened.

    Bottom line about this matter: If the writers of this blog stuck to technology-related matters, which is what most people come here for, this sort of drivel wouldn’t clog up the comments section.

    1. Chaser said on January 9, 2023 at 3:39 am

      Well said – not sure what Shaun’s actual knowledge of the US education system is given he appears to be from South Africa (the home of a race theory or two) but I know when I went to school 40 years ago it was all about test taking and learning by rote – my kids have done a lot more critical thinking in school than I ever did.

      But yes, this is a technology site, not the sort of nonsense in the article above.

  3. VioletMoon said on January 7, 2023 at 8:46 pm

    ChatGPT awakened me to the possibility of using Open AI to write essays and create sonnets. With a bit of searching, I found numerous sites that offered students, bloggers, news reporters, etc. with the opportunity to use AI to write essays, sonnets, blog entries, and articles. “Jasper” is in high demand and in use all over the Internet.

    I used one such essay generation site and posted the results on gHacks which, apparently, went unnoticed as an AI written comment, even when I posted the source for the information.

    I taught high school English in the US for twenty-five years and found students, especially those in AP and Honors classes, to be more than willing to plagiarize using a variety of methods. The situation became so dire, that I started using Grammarly for checking plagiarism.

    At least 50% of the students plagiarized at least 50% of their written work and continued to do so even after they discovered I was using Grammarly and learning that Grammarly was 95% efficient in catching the plagiarized material.

    For a recent experiment, I generated an essay entitled “The Importance of Capitalism for World Peace.” I generated a wonderful graphic as well, using typical words such as the name of a city and state at “sunset.”

    To make the essay more realistic, I generated a few AI quotations for support and inserted them at various places in the essay using the MLA In-Text Citation format. Finally, I compiled an End Notes [Works Cited] page with fictitious authors and fictitious names of articles and books. For that process, I used a well-known online citation maker.

    So thrilled was I with the result! Grammarly scored the essay and gave it an 86% with all “original” material. A second plagiarism checker site also gave the essay “100% original.” Since my “Master Teacher” and I have been exchanging ideas on “capitalism” and its role in “climate change,” I sent the essay to him, letting him know it was AI generated.

    He wrote back “astonished.” He confided: “With more than 50 essays to grade during any one week, I would have given the student an ‘A,’ but I would have wanted an in-person conference with him/her about various ‘assertions.'”

    The essay was sent to a librarian; she stated: “Open AI is a ‘game changer’ for teachers who are dedicated enough to their profession to want ‘original’ thinking/writing; however, few teachers have the time to question every essay or piece of written work.”


    Write a Sonnet About What You Imagine the World Will Be Like in 2023

    ChatGPT Response:

    In twenty-twenty-three, a world so bright and new
    A time of hope and change, a chance to heal
    From all pain and struggles that we knew
    And build a future that is strong and real

    A world where peace and love can thrive and grow
    Where all can live and learn and grow in grace
    Where justice and equality will flow
    And every voice will find a rightful place

    A world where science and innovation lead
    Where every person is valued and revered
    Where progress is made and dreams are freed
    And hope and joy are never more deferred

    So let us work towards this bright tomorrow
    Where all can thrive and love will lead the way
    A world of hope, a world without Sorrow
    A brighter future for us, come what may.

    Using the PowerToys Text Extractor, I lifted this from a video that explained the dilemma teachers face.

    Enough! The issue isn’t whether teachers promote critical thinking in the classroom; the issue is how will the “dedicated” teacher who does promote higher level thinking [Bloom’s Taxonomy] ensure all student thinking and writing is “original”?

    Back to handwritten, in-class essays like those written during an AP test?

    Digression: Shaun, there are enough punctuation errors in your articles that you would fail my class–okay, that’s a bit harsh. In the past, I’ve stopped myself from mentioning the problem. If and when grammar/punctuation is no longer an issue, we can work on organization, ideas, and word choice.

  4. Oxa said on January 7, 2023 at 4:40 pm

    “Education is now focused on critical race theory and teaching students to be good test takers.” You’re so full of sh*t. I don’t come to this blog to read this sort of puerile pablum.

    1. John G. said on January 7, 2023 at 7:05 pm

      Oxa, you have could wrote a more good comment because you starded it well, however you finish it messing all around. In fact, and following your main idea, I am really aware of such sign of freedomless low democracy from those New York students mainly considering that until 1964 the black and white people were not allowed to share a bus, public toilets nor some other social services. The USA spends all day long searching for bad people, bad countries and bad ideas to fight against them just to forget his own dark side of History. I remember years ago that one teacher bring to the class the documentary series of Oliver Stone “The untold history of the United States”. It was the greatest success of that year and all the students came to our class to see it, till the point that the theather stage was converted in a little cinema. Oliver Stone is a complete genious that was advanced decades to his time. Literally speaking today there is too much words that means nothing, only there is woke media that converts the minority in a masterclass of authoritarism, just to obtain economic profit. They, all, don’t really care a cent about the old people, the children, the LGTB people or whatever any other group: they only defend the income of money and votes to obtain and to retain political power. Nothing more. A really drama.

    2. Tom Hawack said on January 7, 2023 at 5:16 pm

      @Oxa, It’s facts. Anyone mistaking a a newspaper’s journalist with the facts he reports would stop reading 99.99% of the planet’s publications.

      This said those of us who understand that besides a juridical comment an assertion is implicitly understood as focusing on an idea rather than on its statistical distribution will have understood that the sentence wasn’t meant to deliberately signify that all of education everywhere on Earth was concerned but rather to emphasize on an emerging problematic in today’s education, mainly in the Western world, mainly in the States given ‘critical race theory’ is spread in its education debates rather in the USA then elsewhere when elsewhere argued more precisely within intellectual circles. There is in American education an increasing incursion of theology, or rather philosophical precepts of religion in what in the past was objective education meant to allow brains to learn rather than to be brain-washed.

      No need to insult when moreover without arguments, leading an open door to consider the former replaced the lack of the latter.

      1. John G. said on January 7, 2023 at 7:06 pm

        @Tom +1

  5. Tom Hawack said on January 7, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with Jenna Lyle when she writes, quoted from the article, “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.”, as I fully agree with Shaun, the article’s author when he writes then further develops “We’re well past the time when schools actively taught critical thinking and problem-solving. Education is now focused on critical race theory and teaching students to be good test takers.”.

    These are facts. The last article’s paragraph, “Responsibilities” reminds that as always the tool and what is done of it must not be confused. AI is on its way, it is and will be increasingly unavoidable should we like it or not. We can’t avoid it but can we try to limit the cons whilst enjoying the pros?

    Classifying is always tough moreover when it aims to differ the bad from the good. When it comes to learning and knowing my belief is that the latter requires the former, you must be able to learn in order to take full advantage of knowledge. The human mind thinks and recalls, reasoning and memory are tightly related, but if you eliminate the former then memory appears crippled. To make it short, and this is definitely IMO, I think we should never ask an AI tool to process what we couldn’t perform ourselves :

    AI should be, basically, a time delayer so to say. That’s for the responsibilities and an approach to consider AI inaccessible to minds in progress in other words those of kids. I know, brains are dynamic and some develop faster than others, decay later than others so once again the border is hard to locate. I don’t believe in ruled laws’ limitations in terms of a civilization’s progress on the long-term so my hope would be that we access to a generation of youngsters who would understand the imperative of associating their intelligence to what would no longer be a virtue but an evidence : the fact that knowledge acquired through cheat is a brain-killer.

    But AI will be far more than a time delayer if considered as an autonomous thinker and if this is conceivable and feasible. I’m so far from the very concepts of AI at this time that I have no idea. But should this arise that the impact would multiply the advantages as well as the disadvantages and kids calling upon ChatGPT would appear as a peanuts problematic in a world where an autonomous thought could break new generations’ minds as it could enhance senior minds to an astonishing level of human perception, perception understood as getting closer to an everlasting advancing horizon : mastering the time-space continuum.

    Meanwhile, kids as well as teens as well as all of us, if we can understand than agree with the fact that cheating is not only a traditional morality problematic but aside, or before or beyond, a true damage for our very own intelligence… then hope is allowed.

  6. mike said on January 7, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    What the hell does Critical race theory have to do with this? Shaun you must have gone to conservative brainwashing school.

    Martin Brinkmann what are you doing as editor?

    1. Seth said on January 7, 2023 at 4:43 pm

      Never thought I’d see the influence of the US Republican party’s propaganda and fear mongering in a Ghacks article…but here we are…

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 8, 2023 at 2:48 pm

        Critical race theory is a debate. Stating it is a debate taking too much space is in no way an approval or a deny of its content : the point, here, in this article, is to remind that there was a “time when schools actively taught critical thinking and problem-solving.”. Seems to me good sens.

        The point of the article is not “Critical race theory” and if we’ve bounced on this it’s our responsibility, not that of the article’s author : he is NOT participating in the debate, doesn’t write if he is for or against the theory, ONLY that, be we for or against, the VERY debate may not be worth “actively taught critical thinking and problem-solving”.

        Period. Don’t interpret was is not written, be it explicitly or implicitly. For crying out loud.

  7. allen said on January 7, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    “Critical race theory” (aka criticizing racists for violating basic human rights of others) has what to do with this? Did you simply reference it because it also has the word “critical” in it? Conflating unrelated things only looks like a lack of focus.

    1. Alex said on January 7, 2023 at 7:02 pm

      CRT is just another grift to make white progressives feel guilty about something while creating even more division in our society and filling pockets of the ones that promote CRT.
      People who call themselves “anti racists” are the real racists. It’s in their best interest that racism continues, either from one side or the other. Being the oppressors or the oppressed.
      How about we do as Morgan Freeman said? “if you want racism to stop, stop talking about it”.
      A concept lost on many, and ignored on purpose by others.

      1. Yash said on January 8, 2023 at 10:43 am

        Same Morgan Freeman who was giving speech about equality at Qatar World Cup. Yeah Right.

        I personally prefer Roy Keane’s definition against discrimination – Treat people with decency. Morgan Freeman can f*** himself. If he had self respect he would’ve refused talking at a clown show.

      2. Tom Hawack said on January 8, 2023 at 2:02 pm

        In my view “Treat people with decency” is similar to “respect people” and other “be tolerant”.

        All this is certainly great advice and a must in a civilized world. But I fear it’s only a “cache-sexe” as we say in French (“G-string”) when referring to anything aiming to hide rather than to resolve.

        An alternative to “principles of good manners and one’s etiquette in a civilized world” may very well be “open your mind, your curiosity to differences”. Who am I to “tolerate”? What remains of hypocrisy when principles may only hide the symptoms without resolving the cause? Because the cause is either fear or complex of superiority (both often tied) when facing otherness, alterity, differences. Moreover such a mental reference as an enthusiastic curiosity (not that of the zoo) enables to dialog, exchange without the risk included in a “tolerance” approach, that of considering we hold the truth, differences don’t, we tolerate hoping one day they’ll understand their mistakes … which leads in perspective to a world of robotic sheep. And dialog means that an exchange is not that of a ring, if we dialog as we fight then it’s only an attitude, we must be ready to change our advice while simultaneously for reasons we consider valid… then only is the dialog, the experience with one’s differences, accomplished.

        IMHO of course.

      3. Yash said on January 8, 2023 at 2:46 pm

        When Roy Keane said treat people with decency it meant more. Here’s the link for full perspective –

        Humans are different from each other when analysed individually and also as a cohort. There are different culture, language, skin colour. Each representing their own beautiful story which may not be appealing when viewed from someone’s eyes but perfectly fine from another one’s. While one may be superior from another one, that doesn’t mean to cast aside everything else. Sit together at a round table, voice your differences but always respect everyone is equal. Treat others like you would treat yourself.

      4. Tom Hawack said on January 8, 2023 at 3:53 pm

        > When Roy Keane said treat people with decency it meant more.

        I read the article, I don’t see anything meaning more than treating people with decency. The word needs no more if understood and applied. What follows in his interview is the flagrant illustration of what happens when decency is omitted. Who couldn’t agree, besides those who treat others with indecency?

        But the article applies to a country, and it appears, to link your comment to mine, that this country has likely behaved with a tremendous complex of superiority, which wouldn’t be the first time.

        This said personally I remain cautious when applying psychological concepts to an entity. Syates, nations, societies, cultures may not fit into concepts of morality and psychology as those apply to humans. Not saying they shouldn’t only that people expect them to whilst reality may de fact exclude such a transposition. Consider i.e. the famous ‘realpolitik’ which has kept peace in Europe (until recently of course) : while preserving peace and in order to preserve it several decisions would have made people scandalized should thay have been aware of the financial and diplomatic undergrounds. What do you do if the choice dictated by a barbarian is “Choose : we kill either your child or those of the whole village?” : Realpolitik answers “My child”. Would we, would I?

      5. Yash said on January 8, 2023 at 4:40 pm

        Biggest issue regarding discrimination is there are some groups in society which consider themselves as upper section of society, meant to rule others. So when others finally rise from abyss they try to supress it. Even better idea in their faulty mind is to cut that growth in the beginning. This results in abusive behaviour and targetting individuals, blaming them for breaking laws which were created by them for their benefit. Over time this results in discrimination in language, culture and at its peak skin colour.

        Current economic condition represents that. If poor can afford two meal a day, let’s raise price so they’re limited to thinking about food only and nothing more. Anything more and these once poor people are coming to claim independence from norms meant to supress them.

        Critical race theory is just a glorious name. It is at its core discrimination in its worst form. We ruled society and other individuals. If those individuals rise they’ll come after our status. Let’s kill that uprising in the bud stage.

        I consider all this opposite to treat people with decency and I think that’s what Roy meant when he said that. Be happy when others are getting a piece of cake. You’ll still have more than enough cake and cherry than your intestine can digest.

      6. Alex said on January 8, 2023 at 10:31 pm


        I’m sorry, but if you think all of this is genuinely about equality, you’re sadly mistaken.
        It’s all about power.
        It0s not about “sharing the cake”, it’s about certain groups wanting more cake than the rest now because they were, theoretically, oppressed.
        I wish people were less extremist with their views and understood the larger bigger going on here.
        Everyone wants to feel all warm and fuzzy inside because they are “helping oppressed groups”, but here’s the kicker: You are the actual racists who consider you have the power to “help” those poor poor oppressed people, because you consider them beneath you.
        A frightening concept, but as lots of people have shown us, people who adhere to these progressive ways of thinking, people with white savior complex, are, in fact, the real racists.
        Reminds me of those white people in New York that when interviewed and asked if voter ID requirements should be a thing and said “no” because black people apparently had a “hard time to get ID because of ‘racism'”.
        They then asked the same question to black people and they all said they had ID, all knew where the DMV was to get one and how to get there.
        Sad world we live in.

      7. Yash said on January 9, 2023 at 8:02 am

        It depends on one’s perspective at the end of the day. Where I live I’m in the group which holds wealth and power. I try to understand what the oppressed people want. One thing I found quite depressing is their point of view of world depends on how the ones holding the power behave. They don’t think critically and most of the time have very narrow mindset and their timeline extremely narrow which is no fault of their own. Education system has failed them. Again when your priority is two meals a day why would you care about anything before it?

        But then who’s at fault? I’m living off on blood and sweat of others. But things would remain the same if roles were reversed. Unfortunately some humans greed kicks away anything progressive in the society. It is there on every level in society.

        I’m the one who inherited wealth which I never earned. If helping others from some of it may be racist then I’m the one. Coincidentally I’m a racist anyway if I don’t help anyone. That brings back to square one. So what to do now?

    2. Alex said on January 7, 2023 at 6:58 pm

      @just an Ed

    3. just an Ed said on January 7, 2023 at 4:48 pm

      Allen, it is obvious you have no idea what Critical Race Theory is. The definition you use is false. CRT is Marxist at its root, and also racist at its root. It doesn’t matter who you are, but rather, what you are. You cannot escape the confines of your birth circumstances, which is patent nonsense.
      No, Critical Race Theory is a tool for those desiring to foment division in society. It deserves far more criticism than it gets.

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 7, 2023 at 5:46 pm

        ‘Critical race theory’ on Wikipedia [].
        For my part I don’t conceive CRT as “Marxist at its root, and also racist at its root.”, not at all. My belief is more nuanced in that I perceive the whole debate as a struggle — not to mention a clash – between an anticlerical, anti-capitalist definition of the causes of today’s society and a religiously committed culture emphasizing on individualistic responsibility. As such I consider the cause of the debate as a flagrant illustration of the harm religion is able of when tied to the very political philosophy of a country. In fine I’d be temped to consider the debate as one between atheists and believers. Religion may consider the relationship between man and God, but shouldn’t ever between society and God, never : see what happens in the States, see what happens with the “fools of God” elsewhere and mainly with Islamism — not Islam — when God becomes the instrument which serves rather than — for those who believe — the Almighty whom is to be served. That is, IMHO, the core of the CRT problematic.

  8. John G. said on January 7, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    The WOKE movement has find another enemy to fight. AI lives matter.

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