Varsity, a student newspaper at the University of Cambridge, has found that 47.3% of Cambridge students have previously used AI to help them complete university coursework.
The findings come from an online survey in which over 400 students participated. 43% of students stated that they have used AI assistance, such as ChatGPT, to help them complete work. Furthermore, more than 20% noted that they use AI assistance often — with some saying that they “always” use AI.
Content produced by AI platforms, such as ChatGPT, does not represent the student’s own original work
–University of Cambridge
The usage of AI chatbots like ChatGPT was found to be more commonplace amongst STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) students, with 53% of them admitting to using AI assistance. One STEM student described ChatGPT as “the equivalent to dropping one of your cleverer mates a message and asking them for help”. Other groups of students were less likely to admit to using AI assistance, with 43% of humanities students, for example, stating they had done so. Varsity has not published sample sizes for the groups of students in question.
[ ChatGPT ] has been immensely helpful in my revision explaining the answers in a way better way than professors can
However, students are using it for more than just work. In one instance, a student claimed to use the service to produce a crisis plan for a depressed friend — adding that ChatGPT was “10x more helpful than the college therapist”.
The University of Cambridge has stated that: “Content produced by AI platforms, such as ChatGPT, does not represent the student’s own original work” and that said work would then be treated as “academic misconduct” to be disciplined under the university’s rules. Furthermore, university representatives are discussing the benefits and risks of AI-assisted learning and education with internal and external experts.
Opinions within Cambridge’s student body vary; some view ChatGPT as harmful, saying: “I hate everything about ChatGPT. I hate its implications for creativity. I think it is a soulless, dangerous piece of machinery that will damage the integrity of academia. I detest it and think it should be banned.”
Another student disagreed, saying it “has been immensely helpful in my revision explaining the answers in a way better way than professors can”.