Economic Education and Artificial Intelligence – Econlib | Bot To News

Like many other people, I enjoyed giving hints ChatGPTan AI chatbot he created OpenAI. ChatGPT will respond to a wide variety of prompts, often in fun ways, but often in ways that are surprisingly impressive.

I have seen many of my fellow academics express concern that students will use this type of AI to cheat. I understand their concern. AI has written some material that I could rate favorably. For example, at one point I asked the AI ​​to write an article about Christopher J. Coyne. It didn’t write an article that Chris would have written. However, he did write a fairly good summary of his excellent book After the War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy.

However, as OpenAI directly warns users, ChatGPT “may occasionally generate false information.” This is certainly true of economic topics. Every time I asked ChatGPT about The Alchian-Allen effect, AI talked about various economic phenomena, never the Alchian-Allen effect itself. I assume the same is true of at least some other economic concepts.

Students should be careful when using ChatGPT as a substitute for real research and study. It should certainly not be treated as if “better than google” to find factual information. Instructors concerned about students using ChatGPT to cheat should try asking ChatGPT directly for answers to the same questions they ask students. Instructors may be pleasantly surprised at how ineffective it would be to cheat using ChatGPT. Or they can choose to skip questions that the AI ​​answers too confidently.

Does ChatGPT have implications for economics education beyond the academic integrity concerns it raises? Maybe! I had fun asking ChatGPT to write the lyrics. So far, I’ve been writing songs on a variety of economic topics, including microeconomics, public choice, and Elinor Ostrom. These kinds of whimsical prompts could offer teachers new and memorable ways to present the material, even though students might find the results more creepy than appealing.

That said, faculty should also be careful to fact-check any educational materials they attempt to create using ChatGPT. Just as AI bugs can cause problems for unscrupulous students, they can also embarrass us if we’re not careful!

Nathan P. Goodman is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Economics at New York University. His research interests include defense and peace economics, self-government, public choice, institutional analysis, and Austrian economics.

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