R U a dupe?

Are you still thinking about copying something and pasting it into your writing? Read on.

If you want to have a little fun, click on links below:

Unfortunately, some people have been fooled and later embarrassed by getting taken in by these hoaxes.

At first glance, these writings have the trappings of scholarly work. Until you start to read carefully and evaluate the claims being made (which are largely nonsense). Even if you are trying to avoid plagiarism and you do acknowledge your sources, you should be careful about what you quote or paraphrase and acknowledge.

Are you thinking about using ChatGPT to help with your writing?

It's now possible with artificial intelligence apps such as ChatGPT to make a request in natural language, and they will return a response that is linguistically impressive. This essentially raises the same issue as illustrated above with the fake research paper generator, and the hoax published in Social Text, written by a physicist.

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT that use machine learning can be fooled as well, because they ultimately rely on the sources of information on which they are trained. If those sources contain lies, misinformation, distortion of truth, fictional stories, myths, unethical recommendations, etc., then such AI could generate writing that might mislead and misinform readers.

Two more reasons that chatbots could get you into trouble, even if they are trained on trustworthy and accurate sources of information:

    1. Plagiarism: Chatbots are trained on massive amounts of text and images that were originally created by human authors. It may be difficult for you to discriminate what is considered common knowledge from that which has been plagiarized. What chatbots write and say can be plagiarism when their sources are not properly cited, quoted, and referenced.
    2. Fabrication: Chatbots can make up stuff that is factually incorrect. AI experts call this "hallucination". Unless you already know the facts and sources of information, it's hard to separate chatbot statements which are hallucinations from those which are plagiarized or from those which are common knowledge.

Don't be a dupe. Be a critical thinker!

One of the main purposes of a good education is to learn to think critically. Critical thinking leads to one of the highest forms of human knowing.

Critical thinkers:

If the criteria are good ones, then a critical thinker can discriminate mere opinions and false beliefs from true facts and verifiable knowledge. Critical thinkers can determine false or unverifiable claims, and can tell you why. Just because someone else (or even ChatGPT) writes something or says something does not mean it is true or has merit. Even if large numbers of people hold the same opinion, this does not mean that their opinion is right, or that it is based on legitimate evidence, or that it is morally justified.

To be a good writer, critical thinking is essential. If you need some help with your writing, here's an inexpensive and excellent resource:

Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., Williams, J. M., Bizup, J., & FitzGerald, W. T. (2016). The craft of research (4th. Ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Take advantage of your education and learn something. Be a critical thinker. Don't be a dupe.

Next, we provide thoughts about why good writing is so hard.

Next: Slippery Slope