In an era of artificial intelligence revolutionizing industries, academia remains a sacred ground for human judgment. But what happens when a professor allegedly uses an AI, presumably ChatGPT, to grade a student’s thesis? A recent Reddit post has ignited a fiery debate about the role of AI in academic evaluations and the potential pitfalls that come with it.

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Key Takeaways:

  • A student claims their thesis was graded by ChatGPT, leading to an unfair fail.
  • The use of AI in academic grading can be controversial and potentially detrimental to students.
  • The Reddit community overwhelmingly supports the student, advising legal action and public exposure.

Artificial intelligence tools, particularly text generators like ChatGPT, have been both lauded for their capabilities and criticized for their potential misuse. While they can generate human-like text, their lack of genuine understanding and context can lead to misleading or incorrect outputs. In academia, where nuanced understanding and critical thinking are paramount, the use of AI for grading can be seen as a shortcut that undermines the very essence of education. There have been previous scandals where students were unfairly accused of academic dishonesty due to AI plagiarism checkers, highlighting the dangers of over-relying on technology. Moreover, the perception of ChatGPT as an educational tool has evolved over time among professors. While some educators have experimented with its use in assignments, seeing potential benefits, a larger portion remains critical, emphasizing the pitfalls and ethical concerns. The debate continues, but the scales seem to tip more toward caution than acceptance. 

When technology meets bias

Despite the ongoing debate about technology’s status in education, some teachers are forging unprecedented professional bonds with ChatGPT, astonishing students, let alone their fellow educators. A story recently shared on Reddit would sound unbelievable if its authenticity weren’t well-documented. 

A user narrates a distressing experience where ChatGPT was allegedly used by a professor to grade their “pretty niche scientific”  thesis. As a further layer of complexity, the student claims that this examiner, who used the AI for grading, may have had a long-term bias against them. As a result, the student’s paper failed grading. When confronted for clarification on the feedback, the examiner remained silent, providing nothing more than a screenshot of what can be identified as an interface of an AI-text-generating tool. This incident clearly questions the validity of the grade, but what raises more grim concerns is the ethics of the professor involved. 

Reddit users urge to strike back

Unsurprisingly, the post drew much attention and sparked up a hot discussion of the situation. The Reddit community, usually diverse in opinions, this time was as united as ever before, calling for immediate action and advocating for fairness and ethics in academia

The overwhelming support for the student was evident in the comments, with many users offering emotional support and practical advice while ridiculing the ludicrousness of using AI-generated feedback in such a critical academic setting. One user pointedly remarked, 

“So, his feedback includes a ‘regenerate response’? That’s absurd and idiotic!”   

Another individual brought up a very tangible point that many students can relate to. They highlighted the gravity of the situation and the potential financial and time investment at stake and advised,

“Lawyer up. Degrees aren’t cheap (even in Europe, at least in terms of your time spent).”

This radical call to action found many supporters, who felt that students, particularly young and inexperienced, are often vulnerable to being taken advantage of by the system. The blame was squarely placed on the professor, with comments like, “Your professor is a moron and this needs to be reported,” and, “chatgpt did not make you fail your thesis. Your teacher failed his students.” The community’s reaction was not just about this one incident but seemed to tap into a broader perception of the potential misuse of technology in academia and the need for transparency and accountability. Some even foresaw the potential media storm: 

 “Bruh. Grab as much evidence as you can… I can hear journalists already salivating at the thought of lambasting OpenAI and this institution with this…” 

Final reflections

The incident, when viewed from the perspective of the Reddit community, starkly highlights the unresolved and unregulated nature of using tools like ChatGPT in academic environments, including those who might consider ChatGPT for PhD students a valuable research assistant. The plight of the post’s author transcends mere technological concerns, emphasizing the pressing need to harmonize technical progress with ethical standards in education.

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