The question points to an underlying development that was identified by Ray Kurzweil: The continuing application of the No True Scotsman argument to intelligence. What we consider "truly" intelligent has changed with the advancing capabilities of machines, on the grounds that a task that can be mechanized is by definition not a sign of "true" intelligence. Far into the 1900s, playing world class chess or being able to translate reasonably well between a dozen languages would have been considered a sign of the highest intelligence. So would have been the ability to write reasoned essays in college grade English about almost any topic known to mankind (which is what ChatGPT does, of course).
The progress made in information technology shows us that all these tasks can be done by mechanisms. Nobody in their right mind, apart from the occasional excited google engineer, would claim that these mechanisms are "truly" intelligent. Because we don't think of ourselves as mechanisms, we backtrack and change our classification of what we consider "truly" intelligent. Everything that is rule-based is obviously not truly intelligent: You can beat it with stupid brute force. Everything that is simply based on pattern recognition is not truly intelligent: There is no true "understanding" and no "originality". But alas: The texts are good enough to earn certificates and pass German college term tests. And this is just a prototype.
There are a couple conclusions here. We can either backtrack further and say:
- Much, if not most of what we do in academia is not "truly" intelligent. The amount of original, creative, essentially unpredictable work is small.
- Much of what we do professionally (and what college education prepares us for) is not truly intelligent work. Programmers, radiologists, lawyers: Just pattern recognition and -application.
- Our education and our professions are on the brink of being obsolete.
This is scary.
Or we hold our ground and continue to consider our education and professions at least somewhat intelligent. Then we cannot deny that we have produced intelligent machines. The google engineer was right. Rather sooner than later machines will be able to do any intellectual task we can do, including the ones one might currently consider original, creative, and essentially unpredictable. They will probably be able to perform them better than we do. In fact, they will probably become able to perform intellectual tasks that are entirely beyond our regular reach.1
This is even more scary.
My guess is that we will take a much bigger step back than ever before: We will redefine what it means not to be intelligent but to be human. We will be forced to realize that intelligence is not what defines us as human. It is probably not even art that defines us, or only insofar as art defines us as individuals.2 Instead, it is emotions: Love, compassion, passion, even hate. Machines are unable to feel and will be unable to feel for the foreseeable future.
P.S. Are you still waiting for an answer to your question?
- Using ChatGPT is not any more plagiarism than using a pocket calculator. If it gets you results, it's a useful tool.
- Therefore, don't be a Don Quixote. Instead of a futile attempt at preventing the use of ChatGPT e.a., embrace it. Kaya3 wrote an answer in this direction. The future of academia and humanity lies not in defending the indefensible but in employing the useful.
- Change the curriculum to stay relevant. Nobody teaches how to manually draw a root in algebra any longer, or matrix tricks. Try to teach things which may be hard for AI even in 20 years.
1 I'm not necessarily hinting at the prospect of a technological singularity which often involves an unpleasant quasi-religious sentiment; a much weaker development would suffice: Machines continue to improve on cognitive tasks (like recognizing cancer cells, designing mechanical things, predicting the weather, making investment decisions, driving a car). We increasingly find that they do it better than we typically do, and we increasingly rely on them. This is a gradual development without tipping points of any kind. (It is funny that the proponents of a singularity recognize that technological development is exponential but fail to see that exponential curves are emphatically void of singularities; quite to the contrary: They look the same everywhere. The discovery of fire, advent of agriculture or the industrial revolution have disrupted societies much more than a mechanical lawyer or programmer ever could.)
2 As today, different individuals would produce different art. This would include mechanical individuals, i.e. different neural nets, or differently trained neural nets (the equivalent of separately raised identical twins). Like today, experts (including, of course, mechanical experts) would be able to make an educated guess which individual (including, of course, mechanical individuals) created a given piece of art, or at least which tribe and era it is from (e.g. 17th century Flemish, 19th century Xhosa, or 202x Dall E3 lineage).