Robots take over YIG

ChatGTP had a lot to say at this year’s conference


Virginia Skipworth

Youth in Government, an annual state-wide event enabling high school students to get involved in civics, was held in the Tennessee state capitol. The event was held in Nashville on March 30 to April 2 in 2023.

Lily Mirza, Reporter

It was like something from science fiction.

St. Mary’s delegates who attended the 2023 Youth in Government (YIG) conference saw ChatGTP in action when some delegates from other schools were caught using it to write their speeches during the debates.

ChatGTP is a sophisticated AI chatbot that was released in November of 2022.

ChatGTP rarely misunderstands human commands and syntax. In fact, it seems to understand everything a little too well for a chatbot. It can give a medical diagnosis, fix computer programs and even write jokes and stories.

ChatGTP makes writing a speech—which can be a long and tedious task—as easy as pressing a button. In just a few seconds, the chatbot can collect huge quantities of information off the Web and synthesize them into coherent paragraphs. It creates a detailed response that can almost pass for something human.

However, ChatGTP takes the place of original thought and frequently makes incorrect statements. In addition, it encourages plagiarism.

According to Lillian Karnes (11), who was elected governor for next year’s conference, ChatGTP has no place at YIG.

“I think that it really goes against the spirit of the conference,” she said. “The point is to advocate for a topic that you are passionate about. If you are just reading off a sheet of paper that something else produced, you are not learning anything.”

St. Mary’s alum Elise Dugger (‘04), Senior Program Director at the Tennessee YMCA Center for Civic Engagement, agreed.

“We definitely are not fans of ChatGPT,” she wrote in an email. “You aren’t challenging your own mind, and you aren’t directly engaging with other people [when using it].”

For Dugger, ChatGTP, which can generate hours worth of work in the snap of a finger, is not an innocent shortcut. It kills the creative process.

Dr. Lyon, upper school AP U.S. History teacher and YIG sponsor, attends the conference every year. He is becoming concerned about ChatGTP, too.

“[ChatGTP] is something new that certainly should have been anticipated,” Lyon said.

Those who used ChatGTP at this year’s conference paid a price.

“There were people who were up for awards who did not get awards because they were seen [using ChatGTP],” Lyon said.

Come next year, there will probably be some additional policies in place.

“I think what will happen moving forward is a change in the delegate code of conduct for [Model United Nations] and for YIG. The other thing we will likely see is that when you are speaking you cannot be on any kind of device,” Lyon said.

ChatGTP does not agree that its use should be limited.

When asked about its abilities via online chatbox, it said, “I represent some of the most advanced artificial intelligence technology available today, which means I’m at the forefront of innovation.”

“I can learn from your interactions with me and personalize my responses to suit your preferences and needs,” the chatbox generated response read. “Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone with a general curiosity, I’m here to help you.”

However, like any other illicit resource, such as Sparknotes or Cliff’s Notes, ChatGTP may alleviate responsibility in the short term, but it is not worth the ultimate consequences.

Just ask the culprits from YIG.